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NORTHEAST- DEC. 28: Cheese production has increased as plants run at/near capacity levels. Buyers and sellers are working on inventory positioning and preparing orders for delivery next year. Bulk cheese offerings are increasing as extra milk diverts from bottling. Demand is fair. The market undertone is weak as prices continue to move lower. Consequent to retreats in the CME Group’s weekly average cheese prices, Northeast wholesale cheese prices for Cheddar and Muenster declined $0.0300, while 5-pound sliced cheese prices decreased $0.0800. Grade A Swiss prices are steady.

Wholesale prices, delivered, dollars per/lb: Cheddar 40-lb blocks: $2.1975 - $2.4825 Process 5-lb sliced: $1.7400 - $2.2200 Muenster: $2.1825 - $2.5325 Swiss Cuts 10-14 lbs: $3.2700 - $3.5925

MIDWEST AREA - DEC. 28: Midwestern cheese producers are reporting cheese demand is beginning to slow. Some types of specialty cheeses are maintaining strength, but orders of retail and foodservice cheeses are seeing a seasonal slowdown. Buyers pushing to keep end-of-year inventories low is a factor in slowing order strength. However, cheesemakers expect an uptick prior to the Super Bowl season beginning in late January. Barrel inventories remain long, while blocks are still a bit tighter. Reports on fluid milk availability vary; some contacts report a balanced inventory of milk, while others report surplus milk and are finding spot loads at discounted rates. The Midwest ads for 8-ounce shred cheese have a weighted average advertised price of $2.11, 4 cents above the national average. Midwest prices range from $1.77-$2.50.

Wholesale prices delivered, dollars per/lb: Process 5# Loaf: $1.6975 - $2.0575 Brick/Muens 5# Loaf: $2.1025 - $2.5275 Cheddar 40# Block: $1.8300 - $2.2250 Monterey Jack 10#: $2.0775 - $2.2825 Blue 5# Loaf: $2.3700 - $3.3575 Mozzarella 5-6# (LMPS): $1.9025 - $2.8425 Grade A Swiss 6-9#: $2.7875 - $2.9050

WEST - DEC. 28: Western cheese production is strong with ample supplies of milk available during the winter holiday season. Some industry contacts note larger volumes of milk moving into the major western cheese production areas at discounted prices. Domestic demand for cheese remains good and some cheese makers feel December sales were better than they have seen for a few years. Manufacturers are hopeful that 2017 will bring more export opportunities. Cheese prices continue to roll back somewhat. Barrels are abundant and commonly trading at discounts to current market prices. Inventories of blocks are comfortable and generally available for most buyer needs. The US weighted average advertised retail price for an 8 ounce pack of natural shredded cheese is $2.07, down $.07 from last week. Packs average $2.22 in the Southwest and $1.94 in the Northwest. One year ago, the national price was $2.27. For 8-ounce blocks, the US price is $2.16, down $.07 from last week. Blocks average $2.66 in the Southwest and $1.86 in the Northwest. One year ago, the national price was $2.19. In the West, wholesale prices are down $.0800 for process, and down $.0300 for Cheddar block, cuts, and Monterey Jack. Swiss cut wholesale prices are unchanged. This week, a cooperative export assistance program accepted requests for 436,515 pounds of cheese. So far this year, the program has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 50.3 million pounds of cheese in export markets.

Wholesale prices delivered, dollars per/lb: Process 5# Loaf: $1.7125 - $1.9700 Cheddar 40# Block: $1.8350 - $2.2800 Cheddar 10# Cuts: $2.0150 - $2.2350 Monterey Jack 10#: $2.0250 - $2.1850 Grade A Swiss 6-9#: $2.8475 - $3.2775

FOREIGN -TYPE CHEESE - DEC. 28: Cheese inventories are lower than typical in the EU but that has been the norm during this holiday season. Internal EU demand, coupled with strong cheese exports, have led to this situation. Cheese production in the EU January- October is 1.7 percent above the same period last year, according to Eurostat. For the same period cheese exports are 13 percent above last year. Top export destinations and change in export volumes compared with last year are: United States, up 1 percent; Japan, up 14 percent; and Switzerland, up 4 percent.

Selling prices, delivered, dollars per/lb: Imported Domestic Blue: $2.6400 - 5.2300 $2.2475 - 3.7350 Gorgonzola: $3.6900 - 5.7400 $2.7550 - 3.4725 Parmesan (Italy): 0 $3.6375 - 5.7275 Romano (Cows Milk): 0 $3.4375 - 5.5875 Sardo Romano (Argentine): $2.8500 - 4.7800 0 Reggianito (Argentine): $3.2900 - 4.7800 0 Jarlsberg (Brand): $2.9500 - 6.4500 0 Swiss Cuts Switzerland: 0 $3.3075- 3.6300 Swiss Cuts Finnish: $2.6700- 2.9300 0

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