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Most Commodities Struggle to Keep the Momentum Going

After the enthusiasm ignited by last week’s USDA announcement, most commodities struggled to keep the momentum going. The butter and cheese markets both finished the week on a softer note while dry products, especially whey, fared somewhat better.

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Monday’s announcement that the USDA is extending its Farmers to Families Food Box Program spurred dairy commodity prices upward, with all products seeing gains during Tuesday’s spot session.

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There is no word yet on when USDA will begin spending its allocations, which makes it difficult to assess the repercussions for the dairy markets. The dairy funding could make a big splash if it is spent in a short time, or slowly ripple through the markets if spent steadily throughout the next year.

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A setback is possible, but it’s impossible to predict the timing or magnitude of a retreat from the highs. Seasoned traders warn “Don’t fight the trend.”

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February through December contracts posted life-of-contract highs, a sign of health and good cheer.

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There is plenty of fodder for both the bulls and the bears, creating a rather schizophrenic trading market. We’re in a full-blown weather market, and the futures will be as fickle as the forecast.

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Concerns about worsening demand are colliding with rising supplies as milk floods the market.

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All eyes were on the CME spot Cheddar markets this week as blocks, and especially barrels, moved decisively lower. Spot barrel prices plunged in recent days and Cheddar spot blocks also moved below $2 for the first time since early September.

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CME spot Cheddar barrels climbed to an all-time high last Friday and managed to cling to the precipice on Monday. Then their perch gave way and they plunged over the cliff.

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Trading volumes were light, but that led to a sense of foreboding. The rally is real, but how long can it last? The futures curve reflects traders’ fears that the market cannot sustain these prices into next year.

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The combination of more milk and more cows stopped the bulls in their tracks, and made for a lot of red ink on LaSalle Street through mid-week.

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