UK wholesale prices

Updated 24 June 2022

Indicative average prices for butter, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and mild Cheddar cheese on UK wholesale markets. Bulk cream prices are weighted average prices on agreed trades within the reporting period.

Note there has been a change in the methodology for determining the bulk cream price from January 2021.

Information on prices and market conditions is gathered through a monthly phone survey of dairy product sellers, traders and buyers. Panel discussions cover prices on spot trades agreed within the reporting period and delivered within a maximum of 2 weeks for bulk cream and 6 weeks for butter, SMP or cheese. 

For butter, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and mild Cheddar, prices are indicative of values achieved for spot trades and exclude contracted prices or forward sales.

For bulk cream, a weighted average price will now be reported. This is based on submissions of an average price for agreed spot trades made within the reporting period along with total volumes traded. Data is entered by panel members via the AHDB online wholesale price portal.

Overview

Weeks 21-25 (23 May-24 June)

Wholesale prices are once again firming as production falls away from the peak. All our product prices were up compared to May, though some had a more mixed picture within the month than others.

Cream prices had the strongest increase in the month. With supply now falling and capacity no longer stretched, this limited spot availability compared to last month. Prices started the period in the £2600s for most and rose up to the £2800s by the end.  The beginnings of the summer holiday season in Europe eased continental prices a little, which combined with the increase in UK prices has brought the two closer in line.

Butter prices followed the cream market upwards, though with a more modest rise. Prices only went up 2% on the month compared to cream’s 6%, but this is thought to have brought the returns from each back in line with each other. The average butter price for June exceeded £6,000/t, a height not seen since 2017.  The price was mostly said to have increased through the month, though some reported signs of some downward correction to pricing at the end of the period.

SMP prices were a little more variable, with mixed movements within the month. Currency fluctuations and the start of the continental holiday season added extra variation to the markets. Overall, the average price for the month was up 2% on the May average.

Lastly, mild Cheddar prices rose again. Markets were relatively stable compared to the last few months and the price increases have slowed down. However, the underlying drivers of tight supplies and good demand remain.  

 

Additional information

Prices for bulk cream were not weighted by traded volumes prior to January 2021. 

The published prices will not necessarily match the overall actual price achieved 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

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