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Global dairy report predicts supply scarcity

Oct. 11, 2012 | 0 comments

In a quarterly dairy report the international agricultural banking giant Rabobank found a return to "milk scarcity" based on low milk prices, extreme feed costs and drought.

In the analysis of both the supply and demand sides of the equation, done by the bank's Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory group, the Netherlands-based financial company concluded that there has been a "substantial slowdown" in milk production growth in export regions.

That has coupled with strong buying from importing regions to create what their analysts believe will be a scarcity of milk supplies in many regions leading to stronger milk prices in the next year.

Falling milk production in both the United States and European Union drove local wholesale prices up rapidly in the third quarter, the report noted, while production in Oceania reflected better supplies.

Milk production growth will "slow to a trickle" over the next 12 months, the report found, as farmers in key export regions respond to low milk prices, high feed costs and pockets of unfavorable weather.

Factoring in even slight consumption growth in the United States and Europe, this will reduce the volume of surplus product available for international sale from these key export regions.

"Assuming a steady rise in demand for imported product, prices will thus need to rise substantially to achieve the required demand rationing to balance the international market," the report's summary noted.

This will likely, in their analysis, send prices toward the higher end of the trading range for products sold in international trade.

The report finds that in the coming months, dairy products available for export from the top seven export regions - Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and the United States - will be lower for the first time in four years.

The analysis also predicted increased growth of consumer demand in developing economies, which will contribute to more demand for dairy.

Rabobank expects to see world demand continue to strengthen over the rest of this year and the first half of next year which will contribute to price recovery for dairy producers.

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