UK dairy wholesale prices recover during March
According to DairyCo prices for both butter and cream markets recovered slightly in March as Easter demand brought some buyers back to the market. Powder prices declined marginally in March while Cheddar markets saw prices drop for mild and remain unchanged for mature. The weakening of Sterling against the Euro added support to prices during March.
Cream traded in the low £1,300’s at the start of March but picked up to reach as high as £1,400/tonne. Despite milk production remaining strong, spot availability was reported as limited helping to pull prices up in the latter part of the month. Over the month, cream prices rose by £50/tonne to £1,380/tonne.
The average price for butter rose to £2,900/tonne in March, an increase of just under 1% (£25/tonne). As with cream, butter prices were pulled up by seasonal demand and limited stock availability on spot markets. Uncertainties over stock levels, due to lack of PSA, and the impact of the spring flush on prices meant trade occurred over a relatively large range of prices during the month. Prices continued to fall to around £2,800/tonne from the end of February into the early part of March to a high of £2,950 later in the month.
Prices for SMP have continued to trend downwards, this time due to lower demand rather than currency as per previous months. It has been reported that most buyers are already covered for quarter 2 of the year, while some buyers are still holding off in anticipation of lower prices as the peak approaches. The fact that supplies remained tight for spot trade meant that prices only dropped by 1% over the month to £2,725/tonne.
Markets for mild Cheddar were reported to have picked up in March compared to February although demand is still relatively low, with spot trade dominated by those looking only for short cover. This level of demand, coupled with good stock availability for mild Cheddar meant prices fell by £100/tonne to average at £3,300/tonne for March. For mature Cheddar, prices remained at £3,650/tonne as availability remains limited as manufacturers are still rebuilding stocks.