World dairy commodity auction prices fall again

World dairy commodity prices fell 2.9% on average at Tuesday’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction (15 March).

This was the sixth sale of 2016 and produced the year’s fifth price fall for dairy products sold through the New Zealand-based online trading platform.

The index has lost 14% in the first two-and-a-half months of 2016.

See also: Budget for 24p-27p/litre milk price in medium term, say consultants

The GDT’s previous sale saw a 1.4% increase, which had brought hope that this was a sign of better prospects.

However world milk output continues well above demand and the overall average price at the GDT sale was US$2,190/t (£1,553/t). Buttermilk powder, anhydrous milk fat, cheddar and rennet casein prices saw the largest falls.

At 20,406t, the quantity sold was about 91% of what was offered and very close to the tonnage which changed hands at the equivalent sale in 2015. 

The results came as the EU Commission agreed, as part of a package of measures to help combat low farmgate prices, to raise the ceiling for the amount of skimmed milk powder which can go into intervention at a set price to 218,000t.

This volume limit applies between 1 January and 30 September 2016 and by the end of February more than 63,000t had already been offered. The butter intervention tonnage was also doubled, to 100,000t.

GDT dairy commodity prices – 15 March 2016

  • Anhydrous milk fat index down 6.5%, average price US$3,014/t (£2,138/t)
  • Butter index down 2.8%, average price US $2,733/t (£1,938/t)
  • Buttermilk powder index up 6.4%, average price US $1,545/t (£1,096/t)
  • Cheddar index down 5.6%, average price US $2,441/t (£1,731/t)
  • Lactose index up 0.8%, average price US $624/t (£442/t)
  • Rennet casein index down 7.0%, average price US $4,083/t (£2,896/t)
  • Skimmed milk powder index down 2.5%, average price US $1,731/t (£1,228/t)
  • Whole milk powder index down 0.8%, average price US $1,971/t (£972/t)
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