Mixed bag this week with a reload for Holiday demand but weaker exports. Barrels moved higher while blocks stayed relatively flat on only two trades. Powder did not trade this week and butter lost almost 9 cents. Class 4 still holds a premium to class 3 on spot and the futures are holding a 50 cent premium in 2023. This is probably do to the tight butter stocks that the market is caring into the end of the year. Overall dairy is balanced from a supply and demand outlook.
Weekly Spot Prices
Weekly Future Prices
Cheese: Cheese makers across all regions say milk is available, allowing them to run active production schedules. Plant managers in the Northeast and West report labor shortages and delayed deliveries of production supplies are limiting their abilities to operate full production schedules. In the Midwest, some cheese makers say labor shortages and equipment maintenance are contributing to some down time. Contacts in the region note sales of cheese are seasonally steady, and holiday retail orders have been generally fulfilled. In the Northeast and West, food service and retail demand are steady, though stakeholders say export demand is softening. Spot loads of cheese are available in the Northeast and West. Cheese barrel producers in the Midwest report some extra inventories are available. (USDA Cheese Highlights)
Butter: Across all regions, cream volumes are available. Contacts in the Central region say they anticipate cream to remain available through the end of the year. In the West, cream sellers say demand is softening as they are getting fewer inquiries than in previous weeks. Butter makers are running busy production schedules, though contacts in all regions say production capacity is limited by labor shortages. In the Central region, holiday butter orders have, reportedly, been fulfilled but demand is intact. Contacts in the Northeast report strong demand for butter ahead of the holidays. Demand for butter is steady in the West, as some contacts say they are booking loads of butter to ship in Q1 and Q2 of 2023. Butter inventories are tight or at most steady in the Central region. Some contacts in the Northeast say they would sell more butter if it was available. In the West, spot loads of butter are available, though stakeholders say unsalted inventories are tighter than salted. Bulk butter overages range from 5 to 15 cents above market, across all regions. (USDA Butter Highlights)
Dry whey: Prices for dry whey were higher at the bottom of the range this week. Meanwhile, the tops of the range and mostly price series moved lower. On the CME, dry whey prices shed .75 cent since last Wednesday. Contacts say domestic demand for dry whey is somewhat suppressed and some expect spot trades to remain limited until the start of 2023. Spot traders say dry whey inventories are available for purchasing. Dry whey production is steady, but limited, as drying schedules are focused on higher whey protein concentrates and permeate. Labor shortages and delayed deliveries of production supplies are causing some regional drying operations to operate below capacity. (USDA Dry Whey updates)
This week the market went sideways with December 22 ending up and most of 2023 lousing some ground. With the domestic market reloading for Christmas and pizza prices hovering around pre-inflation prices, there should be good support into the new year. After that the market may need some help from exports to stay above the $20 mark. Recommendation, but the $19 put sell the $22 call for 15 to 20 cents for the first half of 2023.