I mowed today. A bit. I knocked down the weeds for the second mowing since the first week of June. We are on the edge of the drought that has hit Mid-west and Prairies in the US. We are hearing that beer prices are going up but, as of 2 August, US malt prices are in fact not climbing:
"Malting barley prices continue to show little movement due to the large amount under contract by the maltsters. But later this fall, when the maltsters first start talking about 2013 crop year contracts, Hoffman expects the prices offered will be very aggressive as they compete with the higher prices being offered for corn, wheat, soybeans and the other commodities. Cash malting barley prices remained $5.60 a bushel, the same level they have been at for the past several weeks."
So maybe the big brewers are anticipating their inability to maintain contract prices so need to sell off beer from the current contract in... anticipation. That makes sense, right? Piss you off? Plan to buy French beer. Because there will be twice as much malt barley to sell at the end of this season as in the fall of 2011. Germany looks good, too. Even North Dakota is looking forward to a decent crop. Yet Aussie prices are going up due to "a big reduction in the exportable surplus of barley out of the Black Sea region and the prevailing drought across the US."
What is the lesson in all of this? You are not quite in control. We speak of an open market but at the retail end we are so abstracted from these inputs that any story can be put to you, any factor can swing or be used to swing what you do with your wallet. Never thought that the Black Sea market or the French one would be players.