UK Wholesale Prices

Published 28 May 19

Market views taken for trade occurring between 1 to 28 May. 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.

Now the UK is past the peak of the flush it is a time for the industry to take stock. Supplies are still strong, but not overwhelming, and processors seem to have coped with the high supply so far. However the market is thin in places as many are already well stocked, so are just buying as and when they need to. The pound weakened through May, which may have helped raise the price for those trading in euros.

There was strength in the skimmed milk powder market in May, as good demand in Europe pushed European prices up by around €100/tonne, and UK prices followed.  UK prices have been competitive on export markets, helping demand.

However, the rise in SMP prices has had an adverse effect on butter prices, which eased towards the end of the month. It is suspected that improved returns encouraged production of SMP and by extension increased fat supplies, when stocks are already high. Also, with higher SMP prices there is less pressure on fat prices to support returns. Further downwards pressure came from Poland, which was reportedly selling at a steep discount to the rest of the continent.

Cream had a few ups and downs in the month, generally starting on the stronger side and weakening around mid-May. Some also reported increases in price either at the beginning or end of the month. Month-on-month changes were small, and a mix of up, down and flat; overall there was a leaning towards a slight increase on the month. Demand from the continent may have helped support prices.

Mild cheddar markets continue to be relatively stable. There were a few reported movements which balanced out overall, but increased the range in prices seen. In Europe a tighter supply situation is keeping most cheese prices firm, and this may be helping support prices in the UK despite our high milk production. 

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 28 May. 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.