The KDM Dairy Report 12/2/2022


Some life has returned to the market.  After several weeks of downward pressure Thursday of this week buyers returned to the Spot market and drove the prices back up 3.5 cents and 8 cent on blocks and barrels.  This has still been quite a big drop in the last couple of weeks as seen in the charts bellow.  The question is have we hit our bottom or is this just a dead cat bounce.

Weekly Spot Prices
Weekly Future Prices

Cheese: Milk is plentiful for cheese making in all regions, and processors in the Northeast and West say they are running active production schedules this week. In the Midwest, some cheesemakers are keeping full schedules while others report some downtime for scheduled maintenance this and next week. Some volumes of spot milk are being sold at a discount in the Midwest, though demand slowdowns are preventing some cheesemakers from purchasing additional loads of milk. Some Midwestern retail customers have, reportedly, met their holiday purchasing needs. Strong summer and fall demands have abated from cheese barrel purchasers in the Midwest. In the Northeast, stakeholders say demand is steady from both retail and food service customers, but export demand is softening amid declining international prices. Retail demand is steady in the West, while food service demand has picked up following last week’s holiday.  (USDA Cheese Highlights)

Butter: Cream is available across all regions, and contacts in the Northeast say volumes are meeting processors’ needs. Some Central butter makers report they are declining spot load offers of cream as they have reached their capacities. Butter makers in the West are running active schedules to work through available cream, though some say labor shortages are preventing them from running full churning schedules. In the Northeast and Central regions, butter churning is active. Retail customers in the Northeast are buying butter ahead of the winter holidays. Demand for butter is strong from both retail and food service customers in the West. Central region butter contacts also report strong demand for unsalted and salted butter. Spot purchasers say there is some tightness for butter, but inventories are available. Meanwhile in the Northeast, bulk butter supplies are reportedly tight. Bulk butter overages range from 5 to 15 cents above market, across all regions.  (USDA Butter Highlights)

Dry whey: The price range and mostly price series moved lower on the top end while the bottom of each was unchanged this week. Market prices for dry whey moved up a penny, on the CME, earlier this week, after staying at 44 cents since November 10th. Stakeholders say the price for dry whey is in good balance between sellers and purchasers. Dry whey demand is unchanged in domestic markets. Some contacts are concerned that increased COVID restrictions in some Asian countries will have long term impacts on dry whey exports. Loads of dry whey are available for spot purchasing. Dry whey makers say there is plenty of liquid whey available, from steady regional cheese production. Despite this, dry whey production is limited as production schedules are focusing on higher whey protein concentrates and permeate. Some plant managers say drying schedules are also being limited by labor shortages and delayed deliveries of production supplies.  (USDA Dry Whey updates)

This week had a mix for market volatility as the beginning of the week went low with a rebound on Thursday and no action on Friday in the Spot market.  The Jobs report posted a gain of 263k jobs this month and GDP was revised higher for Q3 of 2022.  Also, inflation is starting to ease.  All in all the economy looks in good shape heading into 2023 and I think domestic demand will hold fairly strong.  Exports on the other hand have weakened some what.  With the East coast update stating that, export demand is declining with international prices.  Plus China is still on zero covid policy which is hurting their economy which could hurt the exports on the west coast.  At this point I would recommend put spreads for 2023, buy the $20 sell the $19 for 35 cents.  Then look to spend an additional 10 to 15 cent on buying back the $19 if the market rallies.  This would leave you with $20 puts for 45 to 50 cents which is less then half the cost of buying them outright.