International dairy markets have seen their first glimmer of hope for some time in the form of a 26% increase in the whole milk powder price at the latest Fonterra auction.

The sale by the New Zealanders saw 20,000t cleared for $2301/t – the highest price for nine months. While most of this powder was for November to January delivery, it was still well above the July world price for WMP of $2000/t.

In the EU butter market the news is also more positive, with Dutch and German product edging higher and sales to intervention stabilised at about 83,000t. UK butter prices also increased between June and July by 2.5% to £2,075/t, according to the latest market report from DairyCo.

But analysts believe the weight of stocks on the market, and possible releases of butter held under the EU’s private storage aid scheme will keep a lid on prices.

Meanwhile, producer numbers have continued to fall, with just 11,709 in England and Wales in July, down 4% on last year.