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Chicago, IL. — The December 2016 national Class III base price of $17.40 per hundred for milk at 3.5 percent butterfat is the highest price in two years. The most recent higher price for any month was $17.82 per hundred in December of 2014.

Although the December Class III price was an increase of $2.96 per hundred from December of 2015, prices for other classes of milk were lower compared to the month a year ago. The respective Class II prices for December of 2015 and 2016 per hundred were $16.71 and $15.26 per hundred while the Class IV prices were $15.52 and $14.97.

Futures outlook

According to the Class III milk futures being traded early on Wednesday afternoon of this week, the December 2016 price should be surpassed in a majority of the months in 2017. The exceptions are January and February, which had trading board prices of $16.74 and $17.34 per hundred respectively at mid-day on Wednesday.

For all other months this year, the Class III futures price range on Wednesday was between $17.47 and $17.92 per hundred. Those futures stood in the $16s per hundred for all months in 2018. All monthly changes in the per hundred prices were limited to single digits on Wednesday.

The dry whey futures contracts for the first nine months of 2017 were all trading in green ink territory on Wednesday. Prices during this year ranged from 43.75 cents per pound for January to highs of 48.5 cents for July, August, and September. With no trading, the dry whey futures stood at 44 cents per pound for most months in 2018.

Spot market report

Amid daily and weekly price changes, there was a relatively low level of activity in the spot market for dairy commodities at the CME Group (Chicago Mercantile Exchange). Compared to a week earlier, prices for all of the major commodities were a bit higher on Wednesday.

With a 1.5 cent per pound gain on Wednesday, thanks to an unfilled bid to buy one carload, the Cheddar cheese block price closed at $1.7350 for the session. This was up by 7.5 cents from a week earlier. Four carloads were sold earlier in the week.

Cheddar cheese barrels were up by 5.5 cents from a week earlier following the 1 cent per pound pickup on Wednesday to put the price at $1.64 per pound. The day's activities included two carload sales to put the week's total at seven sales along with an unfilled bid to buy one carload.

AA butter, meanwhile, lost 2.75 cents per pound on Wednesday, putting the day's closing price at $2.2725 per pound – a 1.25 cent gain from a week earlier. An uncovered offer to sell one carload reduced the price. Four carloads were sold earlier the week.

Grade A non-fat dry milk picked up 1 cent per pound on Wednesday to close at $1.03 as three carloads were sold and a bid for one carload was not filled. Four carloads were sold earlier in the week.

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