World wholesale prices
Updated 14 May
This price series looks at the average wholesale prices of certain dairy products from the EU, Oceania and the US. It aims to provide an overview of global wholesale price movements which can affect prices closer to home.
EU wholesale markets saw some very large price reductions in April as milk production continued to increase towards the spring flush. The reduction in demand from foodservice and continuing stay-at-home messages has upset the supply/demand balance.
- The price of butter has fallen nearly a third during April, when measured in USD. Consumer stockpiling in March reduced retail buying in April alongside lower demand for butter from the foodservice and manufacturing sectors. Stocks grew along with the seasonal supply of milk, putting pressure on prices.
- The price of SMP also fell sharply in April. Buyers are reported to have sufficient stocks and are holding off buying more due to the uncertainty. Production of SMP is ongoing as milk production rises, and less milk is diverted to shorter life dairy products. Export interest was reported to be increasing towards the end of the month as EU prices became globally competitive.
- Reduced domestic demand and weaker than usual export demand have put pressure on the price of WMP in the EU. Production is reported to be slowing as demand falters.
Production in Oceania has been trying to adapt to the change from foodservice to domestic demand. China starting to return to more normal buying has added support to prices. With Southern hemisphere milk production in its trough, the limited supplies and concerns over longer term production due to the adverse weather conditions has helped minimise downward pressure on pricing.
- Butter prices were steady in Oceania in April as buyers looked to cover requirements for later in the spring. Prices are now considerably higher than the US and EU which may limit export interest if the discrepancy remains.
- SMP prices fell in April. Despite China returning to more normal buying patterns, the much higher Oceania price may have reduced export sales, with buyers moving elsewhere for supply.
- There was a slight fall in the price of WMP in April, with prices supported by limited future availability and increasing demand from Asia.
- Cheddar prices saw an increase in April, supported by higher than expected demand, limited available stocks and seasonally declining production.
Prices for all products fell during April with supplies far exceeding demand. Butter and cheese saw the largest drops as already high stock levels were bolstered by further supplies. Powder prices were also down with seasonally increased production volumes and reduced demand.
- April saw a steep decline in butter prices in the US as production increased seasonally. Vastly reduced demand from foodservice markets meant that much of the production has gone into store. Despite increased demand from retail outlets, significantly reduced demand from foodservice meant overall demand has fallen and weighed heavily on prices.
- SMP and WMP prices fell during April, with high production volumes and reduced demand. WMP markets are reported to be more balanced, while the higher milk volumes are being directed towards SMP production.
- Cheese production during April was high on the back of seasonally high milk production, adding to already high cheese stocks. The Cheddar price has fallen steeply given demand is constrained by the closure of most foodservice outlets. Increased retail demand was not enough to counter this as sales through this channel account for a smaller part of the market in the US.