UK wholesale prices

Updated 27 November 2019

Indicative average prices for UK dairy wholesale markets, including bulk cream, butter, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and mild Cheddar cheese.

Overview

  • Cream prices had another exciting month, with a steadier start but prices then spiking in the latter weeks. The lift came from a surge in demand for fresh cream from the continent, where buyers needed it for Christmas products. Some reports had prices rising as high as £1,700/tonne, but this peak only lasted a few days and reports suggest prices have dropped back a bit since then. The magnitude of the price increase could be a sign that the actual volumes being traded on the spot markets were thin.
  • There was disconnect between the cream and butter prices this month, which is a fairly usual effect of the festive demand for cream. The gap between the two prices made it economically difficult to buy cream for butter making as the butter would not make a return at the current spot prices. Those who can draw on stocks were better able to compete.
  • SMP prices continued to firm in November, rising steadily through the month, bringing another 5-year high.
  • There are a couple of reports of movement in the mild Cheddar markets, which has widened the price range, but overall the average is steady.

Additional information

Prices have been compiled by talking to dairy product sellers, traders and buyers. Panel discussions on market conditions and prices covered trades agreed for the period 1 to 27 November.  Prices reported are indicative of values achieved over the reporting period for spot trade (excludes contracted prices). The published prices will not necessarily match the actual price received by a milk processor as this will depend, amongst other things, on the proportion of product that is sold on the spot market and the proportion sold under longer term contracts and at what price this is done. The “average” prices should be used to track trends while the commentary will contain prices seen through the month.

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UK wholesale prices