Prices slipping in dairy spot market

Ray Mueller

Subhead: Nearby Month Futures Post Small Gains


Spot market prices for dairy commodities posted daily losses through Wednesday of this week at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group).

Price increases for Cheddar cheese late last week were offset by the setbacks this week. On Wednesday, Cheddar barrels lost 1.25 cents to close at $1.4575 per pound. Cheddar blocks held at $1.5175 per pound after price drops on Monday and Tuesday.

In spot market activity, two carloads of Cheddar barrels were sold on Wednesday to boost the week's total to eight sales. There were also uncovered offers to sell one carload each of Cheddar blocks and barrels.

Butter downturn

The three-week price downward trend on AA butter continued through Wednesday of this week with a 2.25 cent drop for a closing price of $1.79 per pound. The price fell below $2 per pound in mid-September.

Three carloads of AA butter were sold in the spot market on Wednesday. An offer to sell one carload was not covered.

The Grade A non-fat dry milk price, which had been rising in recent weeks, fell by 1.5 cents on Wednesday to close at 87 cents per pound – down from 93 cents a week earlier. One carload was sold to put week's total at four sales, an offer to sell one carload was not covered, and a bid to buy one carload was not filled.

Nearby futures gain

Despite the downturn in dairy commodity prices, the Class III milk futures posted double digit per hundred gains for November and December in trading late on Wednesday morning to lift the prices above $15 per hundred – $15.09 and $15.07 respectively.

The October futures price of $14.74 per hundred continued to be the lowest one on the trading board. Class III futures also stood in the $15s per hundred for January through May of 2017. For all months from June 2017 through September of 2018, the futures were holding in the $16s per hundred.

For September, the national Class III milk base price, which was announced late last week, is $16.39 per hundred – down by 52 cents from August. Other prices were $14.66 per hundred for Class II (soft dairy products) and $14.25 for Class IV (butter and milk powders).

Futures prices for dry whey ranged from a low of 32.3 cents per pound for October to between 34.75 and 37.5 cents for all subsequent months through December of 2017.

Dairy export report

On Tuesday of this week, Cooperatives Working Together announced that one or more of its members (not identified) submitted bids for financial assistance on 6 contracts to export cheese by December of this year.

Those contracts are for a total of 1.195 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese going to buyers in Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania.