World wholesale prices

Updated 7 July 2020

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 butter and powder wholesale prices showed strong recovery in June, rising month-on-month. The seasonal decline in milk along with the return of some foodservice demand helped to support prices.

  • Butter prices rose, with retail sales demand strong through the month. Higher cream prices also added upwards pressure to prices.
  • The price of skimmed milk powder (SMP) also rose on the month. There was a reported uplift in spot market activity, though potentially at the expense of contracting. There was some uptick in export interest from the Middle East.  
  • Whole milk powder (WMP) prices were steady at the start of the month but rose in the latter half. Demand from the EU was higher in the second half of the month, as was export interest.


Oceania markets were more mixed, with powder prices up but others down. Production is at seasonal lows, but there is still some uncertainty regarding coronavirus moving forwards.

  • Butter prices had mixed movements in June but fell on the month overall. Short-term demand gave a little upwards support, but a dip in demand from those looking longer-term weighed on prices.
  • SMP prices rose on the month, particularly driven by a rise at the top end of the market. This rise came from spot market interest that preferred Oceania product over cheaper EU product, as well as seasonally tighter supplies.
  • June was relatively quiet for WMP markets as customers were reported as being well stocked. However, some lift came at the start and end of the month from pockets of extra demand.
  • Spot markets for Cheddar were quiet in June. Prices fell on the month, driven by a few suppliers pricing lower to clear excess stock before the new season.


  • Demand for butter increased in the US as foodservice markets reopened, albeit at a reduced level compared to pre-coronavirus foodservice activity. This, along with seasonally lower milk fat levels, and competition for cream from a pickup in the ice cream sector, supported a lift in prices.
  • SMP markets were mixed in June, with prices steady to falling mid-month, but bookended by price increases that raised the monthly average overall.
  • WMP markets were reported to be generally stable through June, with production light but in balance with demand. A little upwards price movement did occur, generally driven by spot sales for specific products or brands.
  • US cheese prices surged in June based on increased demand and relatively tight supplies. Demand lift came from restaurants looking to refill pipelines as they reopened. Government purchases also supported the market, particularly in the first half of the month as did strong export sales


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World wholesale prices