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'Milkflation' Fears Mount As Supply Dwindles, Dairy Group Warns

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Jan 27, 2022 - 04:05 AM

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as it replenishes the body's supply of glucose to boost energy until lunch while providing other essential nutrients. The first meal of the day usually consists of eggs, bacon, toast, fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, and milk. 

Today, breakfast foods are becoming expensive as food inflation soars to a decade high. Earlier this week, we noted how orange juice prices are rocketing higher due to supply woes in Florida. Now consumers must prepare for 'milkflation'. 

This week, a new industry report from the National Milk Producers Federation warns milk supply is falling and isn't going to recover in the near term, which could unleash dairy inflation. 

The dominant features of the basic U.S. dairy situation continue to be tighter milk production, record export volumes, higher prices, sluggish domestic consumption, and dropping inventories.

Total dairy cows and total milk production in the United States were both lower than a year earlier during the September-November rolling quarter.

December prices for nonfat dry milk and dry whey were the highest monthly prices since 2014; they, as well as December butter and cheese prices, were all among the highest observed during all months since the beginning of the year 2000. The long period of tough market conditions from 2014 until recently constitutes a major reason for the production contraction that's driving the current situation.

The crux of the problem is the pandemic-related issues, such as dairy cows becoming too expensive to feed, so farmers reduced their herds by sending animals to slaughterhouses. The remaining cows are being fed less, which means lower milk output. Compound that with rising labor and energy costs, margin compression is hitting farmers where it hurts: the pocketbook. 

Milkflation is expected to persist "well into 2022," the industry group said. Rising wholesale prices are already impacting supermarket prices where consumers are paying some of the highest average prices since 2015

Add milk to the latest breakfast item to experience inflationary price pressures. Other breakfast-designated commodities, such as oranges, lean hogs, wheat, and coffee, have risen over the last year due to supply-chain disruptions and bad weather has kept supplies low. 

Rising breakfast costs come as inflation for households hit a 40 year high in December, a 7% spike from a year earlier. Real wages are being wiped out as households become frustrated as their purchasing power slumps. Much of this anger has been channeled at President Biden as his polling numbers plummet

The Direxion Breakfast Commodities Strategy exchange-traded fund is set to release an exchange-traded fund that focuses on coffee, orange juice, wheat, and lean-hog futures to allow speculators to play the inflation breakfast trade. 

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