EU wholesale prices
Updated 09 June 2022
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.
Milk supplies continue to be tight and remain the main driver of the EU dairy wholesale markets. Milk production was nearing the season peak in May, with some positive growth in eastern Europe, however several key producers in the west remained down year-on-year. This left year-to-date milk production still lagging behind last year.
Prices remain strong, but changes were mixed in May compared to the universal increases seen in April. New records highs have been set for butter and cheese, however whey and SMP saw the first month on month drops since last August.
Although demand for dairy products is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels, demand for most dairy products has cooled slightly in recent weeks. Reports suggest that higher consumer prices and uncertainties within world dairy markets, due in part to shutdowns within major ports in China and the conflict in Ukraine, are weighing heavily on purchasers’ minds.
Overall, the butter price rose 2.0% month on month. Block butter demand has picked up recently with prices easing towards the end of the month leading to more buyer interest. Buyers and sellers are still cautious due to market uncertainties, but there is a need to gain coverage for business in the latter half of the year. Reports suggest that retail butter sales may be lower than expected due to consumers shying away from higher prices.
SMP demand has been a bit mixed. While some buyers are still trying to assure coverage, requests from others are much more subdued with reports that some demand from export markets is currently very quiet. This has led to SMP prices dropping by 2.6% on the month. Stocks of SMP are tight, but production is steady which may allow some processors to catch up on back orders whilst there is a lull in buyers.
WMP prices remained flat in May. Demand for WMP is quiet with both buyers and sellers taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to the market. Production is behind and stocks low meaning most orders are running on a ‘made to order’ basis.
Tight milk supplies have supported cheese prices, with the average price increasing by 6.8%. Cheese makers are still reportedly finding it difficult to stay ahead of market demand. Gouda saw the largest price increase, rising by 7.3%, Edam and Emmental were both up 6.8% and Cheddar prices were up 6.1%, all prices being new record highs.
 The Cheddar price was the highest since 2014, all other products were the highest we have on our records (back to 2001). This includes EU-27 prices back to 2016, and EU-28 prices running from 2001-2019.
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.
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