Milk futures moved lower Thursday, uninspired by small improvements to the spot cheese prices. Front-month January has declined the past five days, now trading $1.69 below February. The market continues to move lower despite a bit more positivity in the spot cheese trade, getting in line with the underlying cash values. More schools, universities and office settings have planned to reopen in the new year. With more flexibility considered for scheduling going forward, the consumption gains seen from the work/school at home environment could be extended, possibly becoming the new normal. Monthly Class III announced prices for 2020 differed by over $12, with May at $12.14 and June settled at $24.54.
AVERAGE CLASS III PRICES
Cheese plants will be looking to move back to full production after the holidays. There has been no lack of fluid milk for processing as production and cattle numbers remain high. Some cheese makers have stated they will be focusing production on cheese types needing to be aged, keeping inventory high. Production may also be suiting up for export, as early spring has typically seen the most cheese exports by volume.
Heavy cream is available in all regions and churning continues to remain steady factoring in the holiday season slowdowns. Although the near future for sales to restaurant and hospitality markets is bleak, retails sales have provided some needed support to the outlook for butter.
OUTSIDE MARKETS SUMMARY
March corn climbed 9.50 cents, closing at $4.84 per bushel. January soybeans increased 11.50 cents, closing at $13.1525. January soybean meal gained $1.90 per ton, closing at $432.50. March wheat decreased 0.25 cent, closing at $6.4050. February live cattle gained $0.06, ending at $115.03. February crude oil gained $0.12, closing at $48.52 per barrel. The Dow climbed 197 points, closing at 30,606, while the NASDAQ gained 18 points, closing at 12,888.