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11 January 2024: A battle of wills


2024 has started with a whimper, as the opposing forces of supply and demand sound louder. Sweet whey is quoted unchanged, but skim milk posting a suspicious loss of €40 this week


Sweet whey


Supply remains just the right side of profitability for processors, where they seem determined to keep it after last year’s self-inflicted crash. Cost of production list between €600-700 and liquid milk prices have ticked higher on reduced supply (minus 1-2%). China is still largely out of the market, as domestic demand is lacklustre and they are still chewing through expensive stock from 2022, but that is factored into current global pricing. Whey starts 2024 at exactly the same price as a year ago, after a flat Q4, with little sign of direction.


Skim Milk 


Like whey, skim starts the year at exactly the same price as 2023. Supply isn’t being thrown at buyers, and the €40 lower index price possibly represents a couple of distressed truckloads rather than a genuine slide. The significant reduction in production is met with more muted demand than seen in Q4, but with liquid milk prices rising again, price could trend higher into the spring.



Fat Filled Whey


FFW has increased again, as the few producers limit supply, cancelling out any chance of milk powder blends decreasing in the short term.


Wheat Gluten


The factory fire in Q4 coupled with an extended maintenance stoppage at another producer has impacted acutely on price and physical availability, as prices for spot loads have doubled since beginning of Q4.


Other factors


The soya market has drifted, as old crop bean exports are lagging, but soy oil is pretty much unchanged whilst the meal leg has softened, down from November’s $440 to the mid $360s. Palm oil, on the other hand, has followed its own fundamentals, propped up by crude oil reaming firmly in the $70 bracket.

BDC agri is the UK broker for Lacto Production milk and whey powder products.

For further information and prices, contact Greg Dunn on 01206 381521 or


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