ROLAND SOSSNA, Editor International Dairy Magazine: What is Brussels waiting for?

It seems that at the beginning of the new year the global milk market will not tumble into chaos – at least in the forseeable future. Milk volumes in New Zealand are down, those in Australia are up but can’t make the neighbours’ decline even. The EU has been booking an almost stable milk production with the exception of a few countries that are, mostly, of lesser importance to the overall market situation.

Russia, on the other hand, is unable to increase milk supply to the level that was called for by the government. And China has returned as a significant buyer of dairy products. Although demand is now much more structured and disciplined. No real change in purchasing power can be spotted in the oil producing parts of the world. The United States show some growth of milk production that can be sold easily to the world market.

The situation of the global milk market is, however, not in a status quo. There are huge stocks of Skim Milk Powder in Europe that may threaten the markets all over the world if the EU Com­ mission does not act in a deliberate way. At the moment, the authority seems to be trying to probe the markets by selling relatively small quantities of (old?) SMP at discount prices. In comparison the last time the EU sold off SMP from intervention, the business this time might not become a profitable one…

As it seems, nobody has found a recipe for getting rid of around 380,000 tons of SMP that seemingly no-one really wants to have. It might be time for the EU Commission to re-evaluate the situation and to finally agree to sell old quantities of SMP to the feedstuff industry. Old product may possibly never find its way into food recipes as sophisticated and multi-channel audited they are today..

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