May 14, 2008

What has happened to the price of wheat?

wheat fieldQuietly, with little or no fanfare, over the last two months the price of wheat has gone down. So quiet in fact that I doubt anyone has noticed. I know I hadn't until I saw this small quote in a recent article .

Over the winter, wheat prices soared to nearly $13 a bushel, but lately they have dropped below $8. With soybeans still high, that could be another factor pushing some farmers away from planting corn, Mr. Reed said.

As soon as I saw it I went over to the Chicago Board of Trade and started looking for numbers. And as this chart of wheat futures shows wheat topped $13 per bushel in the middle of March and is now trading at less than $8 per bushel.

So the big question is, have the retail prices for things made from wheat, such as bread gone down any?

Well, according to the Department of Labor, it hasn't. The average price for a pound of white bread in March was $1.350 and for April it was $1.373.

So the months of being told that ethanol production was leading to higher wheat costs as farmers switched from growing wheat to growing corn for ethanol (which didn't happen see here) has lead to bakers being able to keep bread prices high even though wheat prices have fallen without anyone questioning it.

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