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World Dairy Markets Again Soften

February 18, 2020

Jim Dickrell

Dairy prices dropped 2.9% in the aggregate on today’s Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction, marking the second time this month that prices fell on the New Zealand exchange that serves as a benchmark for world dairy prices.

Volume was moderate, with 28,181 metric tons of product changing hands.

Radio New Zealand blamed the lower prices on the Coronavirus outbreak in China, saying China is a large buyer of New Zealand's dairy products. While milk powder hit a six-month low yesterday.

Both skim milk powder (SMP) and whole milk powder (WMP) were down 2.6%. SMP fell to $1.29/lb; WMP dropped to $1.35. Butter was down 3.9% to $1.86/lb. The one bright spot was cheddar cheese, up 5.3% to $2.05/lb.

And if there’s good news in this week’s auction results, the price changes make U.S. cheese and SMP prices competitive globally. U.S. butter is trading at about par, and U.S. WMP remains substantially higher than world prices.



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