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IFA Leader Says Keeping GDT in Perspective is Crucial

08 March 2017

EU - Speaking yesterday in Brussels at the March COPA Milk Meeting, IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary said that, despite yesterday’s 6.3 per cent fall in the GDT auction index, farm organisations from all over Europe reported significant milk price increases and continued restrained output.

Mr O’Leary said that this latest auction and the first ever GDT annual report, published on 6 March for 2016, showed how crucial it is to keep GDT in perspective. It is an important international price discovery mechanism, but it sold only 12 per cent of all powder and less than 5 per cent of all butter traded internationally in 2016.

Also, yesterday's reduced GDT index remains 52 per cent above the trough level of a year ago, and despite the powder price drop, the auction’s prices for SMP and butter would return a milk price equivalent of around 32c/l + VAT.

“The GDT annual report tells us that GDT traded only 636,000t of product during 2016, down 36 per cent on the peak levels of trade of 2014. Most of this (73 per cent or 464,000t) consists of WMP and SMP. This is a fraction of global exchanges in powder: less than 12 per cent of the total quantities traded globally during 2016, and just under half the 950,000 metric tonnes of SMP and WMP combined traded by the EU in that year (source: USDA),” Mr O’Leary said.

“This must inform our analysis of the GDT auction. While it clearly influences buyers and sellers, it accounts for a small and decreasing portion of actual global trade, and is less important to us than EU exports and trade. It is therefore essential that co-ops would at all times put GDT results, both positive and negative, in proper perspective, including this month when deciding on February milk prices,” he said.

“EU commodity prices as reported by the EU MMO for December, January and February have been stable to slightly easier, but as at the 26 February continue to return around 36.5c/l gross (before processing costs), equivalent to a milk price of 31.5c/l + VAT (33.2c/l incl VAT),” he said.

“This compares with average January milk prices of around 29.6c/l + VAT (31.2c/l incl VAT), and shows there is still scope for some price increases before peak. 33c/l for March milk remains very realistic,” he concluded.

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