Editor’s note: This market commentary is provided by the Dairy Division at FCStone in Chicago, Ill.

Class III futures resumed its overall bullish trend to start the week, taking its cue from a bid spot session that saw blocks and barrels posting gains.

The April contract rose 46¢ higher to close at $20.33/cwt., effectively shrinking some of the spread differential with February, which closed unchanged at $23.14/cwt. The second quarter pack picked up 30¢ to close at $19.66/cwt., while the second half average closed 3¢ better to close at $18.40/cwt.

Cash settled cheese futures were caught up in the slipstream of the Class III rally. 

Dry whey futures traded mixed on light volume.

Class IV futures were strong across the board, on the heels of a spot session that saw Grade A NFDM pick up a penny to close at $2.03/lb.; and unchanged butter activity.

USDA releases its monthly Milk Production report on Thursday. FC Stone forecasts January 2014 production  will show little if any change compared to a year ago.

FC Stone's annual Dairy Outlook Conference will be held June 18-19, in Chicago. Visit www.intlfcstone.com/events for information.


Feb. 18 spot session results:

Block cheese: $2.1075 (up 0.25¢)

Barrel cheese: $2.0675 (up 0.5¢)

Grade A NFDM:  $2.03 (up 1.0¢)

Butter: $1.77 (unchanged)


Today's expectations:

• Class III & Cheese to open firm

• Dry whey to open mixed

• Class IV to open steady

• Butter to open soft

• NFDM to open higher


Grain futures

Grain futures posted strong closes across the board on the heels of yet another round of strong export inspections and bullish fundamental tones. March corn futures picked up 4.5¢ to close at $4.495/bushel. It’s the highest close since November of 2013. March soybeans continued to propel to the upside, picking up 23.5¢ on their way to closing at $13.61/bushel. Continued export interest has many concerned that USDA has underestimated demand and the market is accounting for that possibility.

Today’s expectation:

• Corn, soybeans and soybean meal futures to open soft

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