EU wholesale prices

Updated 9 November 2021

An overview of how the dairy markets are moving in the EU. Price series comparing average EU wholesale prices of butter, SMP, WMP and cheese. They are updated on a monthly basis.

Monthly overview

European milk production is at seasonal lows, so supply was relatively tight in October. High feed costs are squeezing farmer margins, which may discourage pushing for higher production in the near term. Manufacturers saw costs increase for milk and cream used for processing. Meanwhile, reports indicate strong Q4 dairy product demand. Altogether, this led to wholesale price increases across the board for October.

Butter prices had the strongest month-on-month increase, up 12.3% in October. Reports indicate there was a lift in demand for bulk butter, and although packaged butter demand was fairly typical for the season, it was outpacing production. Buyers are looking to stock up in case the price increases further. Supply is tight – some demand is being met by taking frozen butter out of store, but also some processors are still finding it more economical to sell cream instead of making butter with it.

Tight inventories also supported the skimmed milk powder (SMP) price in October. Demand was described as “steady and solid”, but seasonally low production kept the supply-demand balance tight, and inventories are highly committed. Reports suggest solid domestic demand is leaving less SMP available for exports – though it will be a few months before the trade figures can confirm this.

European whole milk powder (WMP) also rose in October. Inventories are reportedly tight, and making WMP is not very attractive to processors unless a buyer is already lined up. However, there is plenty of interest from buyers willing to pay higher prices to assure coverage.

The average cheese price rose 1.9% on the month to €3,786/tonne in October. Edam and Gouda drove this increase, up 3.7% and 2.6% respectively. Cheddar and Emmental rose a more modest 0.9% and 1.0% on the month.

Table of EU dairy wholesale prices

graph of EU dairy wholesale prices

Additional information

Please note that prices can vary markedly within each market sector: the prices above are intended to give a guide to trends in price changes, but the absolute values experienced in the market place may differ from those shown.

As of 1 February 2020 the MMO changed its data reporting to EU (excluding UK), including historic data back to January 2016. For historic EU-28 prices up to Dec 2019, please download the spreadsheet using the link below.

Download dataset

EU wholesale prices

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