December 1, 2017

Barrels and Blocks Have Dicey Relationship

 |  By: Know Your Market

A quick examination of the relationship between blocks and barrels in this past week reveals a volatility that makes the marriage between Ricky Ricardo and Lucy seem calm. At multiple points in the week block and barrel prices would find themselves moving in opposite directions, oftentimes with small volumes of blocks traded and much larger load counts of barrels changing hands. Friday was no different with blocks trading a single load, dropping 3 3/4 cents to $1.56 1/4 while barrels rose 2 1/2 cents to $1.53 1/2 after 22 loads changed hands. This now closes the gap between the two to 2 3/4 cents.

Butter rose 1/4 cent to $2.21 1/2 after two loads were exchanged. Grade A nonfat dry milk also rose 1/2 cent to 72 cents. 

The average prices for the week across all four products are as follows:

  • Butter: $2.20 1/4
  • Block cheese: $1.58 1/2
  • Barrel cheese: $1.53 3/4
  • Grade A nonfat dry milk: just under 72 cents

The lower block trade brought softness to the Class III market where the average for the first half of 2018 dropped 9 cents to $14.85 per cwt. Class IV markets saw little volume and remained unchanged.