While housing starts have fallen to their lowest levels in 50 years, food and energy prices continue to rise. Those aren’t very encouraging signs for the overall economy, and raise concerns about beef demand.

It is outside forces that we will be looking to in determining the price levels we will experience. And, just this week, the drivers were Saudi Arabia sending troops into Bahrain and concerns about the devastation in Japan. Admittedly, one feels a little sheepish about talking about the loss of beef exports to Japan, when that country is facing such real and significant issues (see "Devastation in Japan Rocks Global Markets"). As mentioned previously, prices moving forward won’t be supply driven but dependent upon demand levels, and demand more on the macro level than demand in comparison to competing proteins.