World wholesale prices

Updated 13 January 2022

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.


Tight milk supplies in the US, EU and Oceania continued to support world wholesale markets in December, but not completely. Butter and skimmed milk powder (SMP) prices rose across the board in all three regions, but some whole milk powder (WMP) and cheese prices began to ease off.



The EU dairy markets in December were similar to November, with low availability pushing up prices. Milk production continues is at seasonal lows and running behind expectations. Reports indicated that there was very little uncommitted product available for spot markets across all the key dairy products, supporting the price increases. For more detail see the EU wholesale prices page.



Oceania milk production has also been underwhelming, running behind year-ago figures since August. The average butter price rose in December, as buyers bid up prices in order to secure supplies. Additionally, the discount compared to the EU butter price attracted extra interest from importers who source from both regions. SMP markets saw similar dynamics to butter, with tight supplies and increased buying interest supporting prices. There were reportedly some signs of the market starting to steady out, but overall the December price still rose on the month.

In contrast to butter and SMP, it appears the Oceania WMP price peaked in December. Processors were focused on WMP production and there were good levels of buying interest. Overall, however, the price highs met their limits, and the December average eased down by a marginal 0.4% on November.

The Cheddar cheese market had a mixed month in December, with the low end of prices remaining supported, but the top end dropping back somewhat. Overall, the average price still rose 5.4% on the month to December.  



Bulk butter is reported to be tight on the back of limited availability of cream supplies in some regions in the first half of December. High freight costs and driver shortages contributed to this by further limiting cream deliveries. Healthy demand outpaced butter production, raising the price.  There was also strong export interest in December, but the ability to fulfil this demand was somewhat hampered by port congestion increasing delivery timelines.

SMP markets also rose, with firm demand and limited supplies once again the driving factors. In contrast, the WMP price was unchanged on the month. WMP trading was very quiet as there was little to no spot product available. Processors were reported to have focussed on drying skim and buttermilk over making WMP.

The US cheese price also declined, but only by a marginal 0.3%. Buying interest was reported as steady and busy, but with good stock levels and active production, there was ample availability. Some cheese plants were very active over the holiday season, taking in excess milk at a discount while other dairy plants closed for the holidays.

Download dataset

World wholesale prices

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.