World wholesale prices

Updated 12 February

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.

Overview

US markets saw a continuation in the trend of decreasing fat prices and increases for milk powder. Conversely, the EU and Oceania saw an increase in prices of Cheddar, butter and SMP though prices of WMP struggled.

EU

EU wholesale markets were mainly positive during January, due to strong demand. Mild winter weather has pushed milk production higher than previous years, alleviating any worries about milk availability.

  • Good demand for EU butter has seen the price increase slightly during January. Reports suggest that stocks are shorter than expected which has kept upward pressure on prices, especially when coupled with high demand.
  • The price of SMP increased again in January on the back of good demand both for exports and domestically. This is supported by uncertainty over future milk production and the competition for milk supplies with cheese manufacturers.
  • WMP markets were quiet in January with production keeping up with demand.  Globally, Oceania is a cheaper option than Europe so export demand is limited.

Oceania

Oceania’s milk production is still being affected by the catastrophic wildfires in Australia.  The reduction in milk supply is expected to continue with losses of hay, feed supplies and, reportedly, thousands of cows. Production in New Zealand is fairly flat but there are reports that drier weather may affect feed crop production for later in the season.

  • Seasonally declining milk production and the need to rebuild stocks has put upward pressure on butter prices in January. Current production is mainly aimed at meeting contracted requirements.  Supplies are tight and demand is active increasing average prices.
  • SMP prices increased during January on the back of strong demand and lower stocks. The seasonal reduction in production has also lifted prices, although further upward movements may be limited due to lower EU pricing.
  • Prices for WMP fell slightly during January. Manufacturers are working to get milk to meet contracted volumes.
  • Steady Cheddar demand and the seasonal reduction in production combined for an increase in price during January. Stocks are reported to be balanced with little build-up of stocks.

US

The US has readily available milk in January which is supporting the production of butter and Cheddar. Trading has been steady to good, with cheese benefitting from the football play-off season.

  • Butter production in January has been stimulated by the high levels of milk production and readily available cream. Inventories are being restocked and there is adequate in stock to cover current needs. Though bulk butter demand is high, the level of production and available supply of cream has pushed the price down.
  • At the start of the month demand for WMP was steady and supplies were reported as in line with demand. In the latter part of the month however prices moved up as supplies became tighter and demand increased as a result of the upcoming baking season.
  • The US Cheddar price followed its downwards trend in January. Demand is good due to the football play-off season but the high level of production and available milk keep the price down.

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World wholesale prices