Blocks And Barrels Duke It Out
Historically, a 3 cent spread between blocks and barrels has been the norm. However, in 2018
it has been anything but. On Wednesday, blocks and barrels came to within 3 cents of each other, a feat that has only been done on six other days this year. Barrels led the charge in the CME spot trade by rising 8 cents after 19 loads traded hands to finish at $1.48. Conversely, blocks fell 2 cents to finish at $1.51 with just 3 loads trading.
There was not much activity elsewhere in the spot trade. Grade A nonfat dry milk rose ¾ cents on a handful of loads to finish at 80 and ½ cents a price not seen since June 8. Neither butter or dry whey traded and both finished unchanged. Butter finishes again at $2.22 and ½ cents while dry whey settles once more at 41 cents
Class III markets started the day with a much firmer trade, especially in the fourth quarter, where some prices were as high as 26 cents above Tuesday's finish. However, despite the stronger net spot trade, futures prices drifted lower towards the end of the day with the average price for the period of August through December, finishing at $15.82, up a nickel from Tuesday, while the average finished unchanged at $16.05. Class IV markets caught some lift. The average price for now through the end of the year finished 3 cents higher at $14.91