Butter was the star performer on the European spot market this week, jumping in price by a staggering €365/t to hit €5,935/t - the highest price seen in Europe since November 2022 when butter was in freefall.

That price is now matching the Oceania price for butter and is now ahead of the US price, which is beginning to flat-line.

The meteoric rise in butter prices hasn’t been seen in other product categories, with whole milk powder (WMP) falling by €20/t, skim milk powder (SMP) increasing by €10/t and cheddar prices increasing by €25/t.

At the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) pulse auction held on Tuesday, WMP fell by 3.4% compared with the last pulse auction. SMP prices also recorded a 2% drop this week.

At the last main GDT auction, prices for skim were up 1.3%, while prices for WMP were down 1.8%. It’s a further indication that the market is a little bit directionless at present, but is still tracking upwards in terms of milk price predictions at least.

GDT forward contracts for WMP out to July show favourable prices and continued gains over the next few months.

Milk supply over the last year was flat in the US and as a result dairy exports declined by 7%.

The US dairy export council is blaming weak imports from China and greater competition in the traditional US export markets as a result of New Zealand product spilling over into these markets that would otherwise be going to China.

Speaking of China, there was more north Asian buying activity at the last GDT, which is a good sign.