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Chicago, IL — Following a Christmas holiday market closure on Monday of this week, activity picked up in the dairy commodity spot market at the CME Group on Tuesday and Wednesday.

After hitting a 2016 price high of $2.3475 per pound on Tuesday, AA butter lost 3.75 cents on Wednesday to close at $2.31 as the result of an uncovered offer to sell one carload. Four carloads had been sold on Tuesday.

Grade A non-fat dry milk enjoyed a 1 cent per pound gain on Wednesday to close at $1.02 as one carload was sold to put the week's total at four sales and a bid for one carload was not filled. Its price had risen to a recent high of $1.05 per pound on Thursday, Dec. 22.

Cheddar cheese activity

Against a background of a price downturn during the past two weeks, Cheddar cheese blocks lost another .25 cent on Wednesday to close at $1.6675 per pound. Seven carloads were sold and an offer to sell one carload was not covered.

Cheddar cheese barrels, however, posted a 2.5 cent gain to close at $1.5575 per pound on Wednesday as 10 carloads were sold, a bid for two carloads was not filled and an offer to sell one carload was not covered. Two carloads were sold on Tuesday.

Futures markets steady

Only single digit per hundred changes occurred in Class III milk futures prices in trading late on Wednesday morning. With only two more trading days remaining, the December futures held at $17.38 per hundred

The futures then dip to $16.54 per hundred for January and $16.92 for February before rebounding to the $17s per hundred for all other months in 2017. They then slide to the upper half of the $16s per hundred for all months in 2018.

Dry whey futures prices posted gains for most months in 2017 in early trading on Wednesday. The December price of 39.925 per pound was the lowest on the trading board while all other months through November of 2018 stood at between 42.5 and 46.725 cents per pound. Every 1 cent of the dry whey price converts to a value of about 6 cents per hundred on the Class III milk price.

The national Class I fluid milk base price for January is $17.45 per hundred. This is an increase of 57 cents from the December price.

Dairy export report

On Tuesday of this week, Cooperatives Working Together reported the receipt of a total of 10 bids from Dairy Farmers of America, United Dairymen of Arizona, the Michigan Milk Producers Association, the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative and the Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) for financial support on the export of dairy products.

Those products are 1.049 million pounds of butter and 436,515 pounds of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese. They are going to buyers in Asia, Central America, North Africa, and the Middle East in deliveries scheduled through March of 2017.

During calendar year 2016, the CWT program, supported by a milk checkoff by dairy farmers in the National Milk Producers Federation member cooperatives, involved the export of 50.322 million pounds of cheese, 12.125 million pounds of 82 percent butter and 21.316 million pounds of whole milk powder.

Those products went to buyers in 23 countries on five continents. The products accounted for the equivalent of 892.911 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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