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MRV BLOG: MRV Market Commentary May 22, 2024

Check-in here to see the MRV commentary on what we have seen and are seeing in the dairy market.  These insights have been developed from MRV’s proprietary data, industry experience, and industry reports referenced below. Here’s our latest:

Domestic

Recently, we have seen commodity prices on the rise, and the latest sales report is no different. Compared to the same period last month we are seeing the butter price increase from $2.93 to $3.02. Both block and barrel cheese are the same story with an astonishing increase of about 30 cents for both (MoM), with block cheese price increasing from $1.51 to $1.82 and barrel cheese increasing from $1.56 to $1.88. Although block/barrel cheese’s average volume for the month is lower than last month’s average, the exorbitant prices make up for it. After the tick down in the Class III price from $16.34 to $15.50 (March to April), it is expected to move up for May and June. Futures are sitting at $18.68 and $20.48 respectively. Class IV prices rose only slightly from March to April (+$.02 from $20.09), and with the latest butter numbers showing similar increases to last month same period, it is expected to rise a little further as well with futures currently sitting at $20.41. These narrow values will reduce depooling.

Report from MRV Dairy Dashboard

Inventories

The latest cold storage report shows promising increases for butter (+9%) with less than attractive numbers for cheese. Cheese’s storage shows a decrease of 3%, likely the result of churners ramping up for the summer leaving less milk for cheese manufacturers. Although butter storages seem healthy, due to seasonality it is more than likely that butter prices will continue to rise as summer heats up.

 

Avian Flu situation

The official count, as of May 14th, shows that 42 dairy herds across nine states have tested positive for the disease. Testing by FDA show the H5N1 cells in pasteurized milk were all nonviable. Statement by the FDA reassures there should not be a health concern for milk consumed from these infected herds. This does not appear to prove a threat for human consumption, however, the disease will continue to be tested and monitored. It is unclear how significant this virus has had on milk production, but milk has already slowed in the Central region. As the disease grows in number of contacts we are expecting tightened milk supplies for that Central region into summer.

Heifers are scarce right now, increasing their price. The avian flu is forcing producers to cull and purchasing a new heifer is expensive at the moment. This is exacerbating the scarcity of dairy replacements resulting with the inability to ramp up milk output to support the higher prices.

 

Exports

The latest export report for March shows declines in both volume and value (YTD) after promising February numbers. On a milk solids equivalent, export volume was down 3.1% and its value down 10%. Even with numbers in the red there was still a star with exports though, being cheese. US cheese shipments made an astonishing jump month over month of 20%. Although many markets such as South Korea, MENA, and Japan are big contributors here, Mexico was the standout. Mexico’s demand shot up 8% (YoY) making it the 33rd straight month of growth from them. While cheese made big strides for US exports, it was not enough to offset the negatives from items like milk powder and whey.

Report fromUSDEC

Summary

We saw butter and cheese prices increase this week which suggests an increase in Class I items. The spread between Class III and Class IV has shrunk which will reduce depooling. Price increases are partially due to seasonality, inventories, and a lower heifer count. There are now 42 dairy herds across nine states that test positive for the Avian Flu. Testing by the FDA shows there is no threat for human consumption. However milk supply in the central region is tight which could be a result of culling from the disease.

This information cited by MRV Marketing, LLC is for informational and reference purposes only. It is not intended to be a conclusive statement of future market conditions. It is not legal advice or legal documents. The data used in these documents contains references to information created and maintained by other organizations or agencies. Please note that MRV Marketing, LLC does not control and cannot guarantee the accuracy of these outside materials.

Statistical data referenced here is gleaned from reports by MRV Proprietary DataDaily Dairy ReportUSDEC, CME Group, Dairy Herd Management, and USDA.

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