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NATIONAL: Cream supplies are mixed. Some spot loads are moving from the West into pockets of the Central region where local cream availability is lower. Butter production varies. In the East, where cream is very tight, some butter manufacturers are operating abbreviated churning schedules. High freight costs and driver shortages continue to delay deliveries of cream and production supplies.

WEST: Cream is available to meet production demands. Some producers report sending loads of cream to other regions with less availability. Demand for cream has declined as some Class II producers are preparing for lightened holiday schedules. Domestic demand for butter is steady across both retail and foodservice markets. Strong international demand is present as export purchasers are looking to the US for loads of butter to meet current market demands. Spot butter inventories are tight. Spot purchasers say that loads of unsalted butter are much more difficult to obtain than salted. Butter churns are active as producers are running busy schedules to work through available cream supplies.

CENTRAL: The end of 2021 has brought some merriment to the butter market undertone, as CME prices neared $2.15 on Tuesday. Supply and demand ratios are skewing toward the demand side recently. International interests in 82 percent butterfat/unsalted loads remain strong, while domestic demand for 80 percent/salted loads has held steady. Cream was tighter than expected earlier in the week, while contacts say mid- to late-week availability has grown. Cream is expected to be available into next week, as well, as butter producers and other cream using manufacturing plants take some days off. Interestingly, butter contacts suggest cream availability may not remain long much after the onset of 2022, as some processors are behind on orders.

NORTHEAST: Cream for churning is not as hard to come by in comparison to the past few weeks, as some Class II manufacturers close down facilities during the holidays.

Butter operations are likely to cash in on the extra cream and ramp up production this week. Demand in the foodservice and retail sectors has not shown a significant decline, as of yet, but remains rather steady. Active buyer purchases appear to address Q1 2022 butter needs. Stocks are lower than some manufacturers expected them to be at this time. Competitively priced US butter continues to fill the demand of global buyers.

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