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UK farmgate prices less responsive than European counterparts

Staff Writer | January 6, 2017
UK farmgate prices are, on average, less responsive to commodity markets than the other main EU milk producing countries, particularly when markets are rising.
Cheese
Farmers in Britain   The UK still sits in the second tier of exposure
AHDB analysis compares the scale and timing of how movements in European AMPE have impacted on farmgate prices across Europe. The results are split between the impact on a rising market (May 2012 to Dec 2013) and the impact on a falling market (Jan 2014 to Jul 2016).

The UK shows more asymmetry in price exposure than most other EU countries. In other words, the UK shows a bigger differential between rising and falling markets than other countries.

The UK still sits in the second tier of exposure to European commodities when markets are falling.

For every €1/100kg drop in European AMPE, UK farmgate prices move, on average, €0.5. This means, overall UK farmgate prices have been less responsive to commodity markets than some of the other main EU milk producing nations.

As part of the analysis, AHDB also looked at how quickly European commodity prices have flowed through into farmgate prices. The EU-28 average farmgate price moves up and down at the same rate, around two months behind movements in commodity prices.

In the UK, the situation is slightly different. When markets fall, the UK farmgate prices tend to move around one month later. When markets are rising, farmgate prices have risen much slower, taking three months to show commodity price increases.

The analysis has been undertaken comparing the correlation between European AMPE prices and average farmgate prices. The impact on an individual farmer will be highly variable and depend on a number of factors.

One of the main factors will be how quickly the processor can realise improved returns from end markets. This, in turn, will depend on the volumes traded on long-term deals compared to spot markets and the processor’s ability to direct milk to different markets.

It would be expected that prices paid by milk buyers who sell a large proportion of their product on spot markets, or on short-term deals, would track AMPE more closely than those who are less active in these markets.

Changes in market values should, therefore, affect sales revenues, and flow through to farmgate prices, relatively quickly.

On the other hand, those milk buyers who sell most of their product through forward contracts may take longer to realise improved returns and, therefore, may take longer to increase farmgate prices.


 

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