UK Wholesale Prices

Published 27 February 18

Market views taken for trade occurring between 1 to 27 February. Prices reported are indicative of values achieved over the reporting period for spot trade (excludes contracted prices).

As ever, 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 at the end of the month.

All prices quoted are in £/tonne.

Following a rather quiet start to the year, wholesale markets in February were nothing if not turbulent. Despite good milk flows throughout the EU, demand for fats pulled prices up quite considerably in the middle part of the month, causing a price spike both in physical and futures markets.

Prices for bulk cream and butter rose steadily through the first part of February, then jumped considerably in the middle of the month. Part of this can be put down to rising demand in the EU as buyers look to secure supplies for the Easter period. Adding pressure to an already thin market, there were also reports of strong demand from traders looking for product to close out deals done in previous months. Although milk production is rising seasonally, with no expectations of a shortage, the continued firmness of prices on wholesale markets prompted buyers to secure forward stocks, adding heat to the market

There was little change in SMP markets in February, but prices have been under pressure from the high levels of product available. With cream and butter remaining difficult to source, there is a large volume of skim concentrate available, hence plentiful supplies of SMP to be sold. Sales of intervention stocks by the Commission also adds downward pressure to pricing.

The mild cheddar market was relatively quiet in comparison, as most buyers and manufacturers’ stocks positions are well balanced. UK prices moved up slightly on the back of rising retail demand and the need for British made product. 


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 27 February. 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.