Once again, the prices and availability of liquids are anticipated to influence cheese prices in Europe. This week’s Vesper Price Index (29/11/2023) shows increases to €4150 | $4568/mt ($2.07/lb) EXW, €4400 | $4843/mt ($2.2/lb) EXW, €4230 | $4656/mt ($2.11/lb) EXW, and €3800 | $4183/mt ($1.9/lb) EXW in Europe. Meanwhile, in the US, it stands at €3264 | $3593/mt ($1.63/lb) EXW (See Figure 1).

Figure 1: Vesper Price Index week 48

Looking towards the end of 2023, the trend appears upward, mainly driven by a tighter milk market. Profit margins remain slim as raw milk prices approach €0.50/kg and commodity prices hover around current levels. The scarcity of liquids is constraining fresh cheese production across the European Union. While farm-gate milk prices are on the rise and the milk spot market is expected to ease during the holidays, the anticipation is that the tight situation for dairy commodities will persist until late January.

Beyond January 2024, uncertainties arise. Will increased milk prices stimulate early next year’s robust milk production, or will they escalate, establishing a higher baseline for commodity prices and limiting downward potential? Perhaps a combination of both scenarios is in store. Monitoring the availability and price of liquid milk seems crucial, as other factors remain relatively static.

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