NDM - CENTRAL: In what is historically a slow trading week, activity was anything but this week. Producers and end users/brokers were active and working on deals throughout the first half of the week. Customers are less reticent to pay into the $1.60s, and some secondary-market trading took place above the top of the range, into the low/mid $1.70s. Contacts say NDM availability is scarce, and demand has not wavered. Both domestic and international interests are hearty.
NDM - WEST: Demand for low/medium heat NDM is strong in domestic markets, while international demand is declining. Spot purchasers say that low/medium heat NDM inventories are tight. Deliveries of loads are facing delays in the region, due to a shortage of truck drivers. Some plant managers report running below capacity as labor shortages cause them to run reduced schedules.
NDM - EAST: Eastern low, medium and high heat NDM trading was quiet this week, although prices moved in bullish fashion. NDM production is steady when compared to recent weeks/months, but there are a number of logistical concerns in production facilities due to employee number limitations and in regards to driver/truck shortfalls.
In general, NDM market tones are bullish based on limited availability.
LACTOSE: Manufacturers have been working to get quarterly contracts settled before the winter holidays, and for the most part, buyers and sellers have come to terms for their Q1 agreements. A few buyers report lactose offers are common in the mid $.30s. However, lactose prices have been firming in the EU and Oceania, suggesting demand is present in international markets. Lactose prices are unchanged on quiet spot trading.