UK Wholesale Prices

Published 28 January 19

Market views taken for trade occurring between 1 to 25 January. Prices reported are indicative of values achieved over the reporting period for spot trade (excludes contracted prices).

The following prices represent an indicative average of UK wholesale markets. The “average” prices should be used to track trends while the commentary will contain prices seen through the month.

All prices quoted are in £/tonne.

Prices generally moved up on wholesale markets in January, particularly in the first half of the month. However, the boost to prices was short-lived, due to both lacklustre demand and the steady strengthening of Sterling through the month.

Cream prices had another volatile month, climbing through the first half to highs of £1,850/tonne, before dropping sharply back to lows of £1,600/tonne for prices agreed towards the end of the month. The rise in the first weeks was reportedly driven by demand from the continent and potentially some start of year stock-building activity. However, ample supplies eventually weighed on the price, both from strong milk deliveries and excess cream coming out of increased SMP-producing activity. Between the highs and lows, the overall impact is just a marginal movement on the monthly average.

Butter markets followed a similar pattern, with prices recovering from the lows seen over the holiday period. Higher cream prices and demand from continental traders securing product to close off positions combined to pull prices up over the £4,000/tonne mark. Overall, average butter prices rose in January by around 6%, although prices were trending down at the end of the month as a result of manufacturing demand continuing to drop off and rising product availability putting buyers into a hold position.

Prices for SMP saw a steady upward movement in January, reaching highs of around £1,750/tonne in the UK market. The rapidly decreasing availability of intervention stocks seems to have added some strength to the market, although price increases were limited in the second half of the month as Sterling strengthened against the Euro.

Cheddar markets were quiet in January with pricing mostly stable, although there were some reports of higher pricing. Firm demand for cream from butter manufacturers put some pressure on the markets, pulling up prices for curd and mozzarella, and adding some firmness to cheddar prices.

UK Wholesale Table

UK Wholesale Graph 

Notes: 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 25 January. 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.