Written by Alisa - 3 Minutes reading time

Prices in dairy commodity market to rise in 2024

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Rabobank shared its last quarter report of the 2023 global dairy market in December. According to the report, there is growing evidence that the bottom in the dairy commodity markets has passed, and the general trend is for prices to move higher through 2024.

According to Rabobank’s report titled ‘Global dairy quarterly Q4 2023-Shifting to the next phase of the cycle’, as 2023 draws to a close, the global dairy market continues to walk a tightrope of limited “new” milk and sluggish demand. “Looking back on 2023, it is a story of soft global dairy commodity pricing due to weaker underlying fundamentals. Milk supply growth around the globe was underwhelming in 2023, with a brief return to growth for three consecutive quarters before lower milk prices, elevated costs, and weather disruptions put the brakes back on. The global markets patiently awaited the rebalancing of the Chinese market, only to experience the second consecutive year of large shortfalls in net dairy imports,” according to Rabobank.

Dairy commodity market in 2024

Rabobank forecasts that in 2024, the global market will transition to the next phase of the cycle. There is growing evidence that the bottom in the dairy commodity markets has passed, and the general trend is for prices to move higher through 2024.

Milk supply growth will be sluggish in 2024 across most export regions. Stock levels in the export regions are comfortable but not burdensome. This means that international dairy buyers must keep a close watch on supply availability amid structural weaknesses in production growth in some export regions. The New Zealand seasonal flush has passed with modest growth, and markets await seasonal increases from the Northern Hemisphere in 1H 2024.

The next phase of the demand story remains key to watch. It’s a complex story of high dairy inflation, broader cost-of-living issues, and weak consumer confidence remaining on the horizon. Sluggish underlying dairy demand and changes in consumer purchases are impacting volumes in some economies and channels. Demand settings are on the mend, but market uncertainty remains due to rising unemployment in some economies. Its ongoing impact on consumer purchasing power will be a watchword for 2024.

China's import volume to flatline in 2024

China’s import appetite for dairy commodities is still expected to drive any Oceania commodity price rally in 2024. Rabobank expects China’s import volume to flatline in 2024, which would be a positive result given the previous two years of withdrawal from the global markets. This is an opportunity for importers outside of China to build stocks in 2024. Prices are moving modestly higher from low bases, and the current demand signals have yet to trigger a rush to take coverage.

In Rabobank’s view, the base case is for a slow recovery in commodity prices back to long-term averages. However, current fundamentals provide the perfect ingredients for price volatility and a possible market whiplash. A high degree of risk and uncertainty permeates all global markets, including dairy. Geopolitical instability risks, volatile energy markets, and weak macroeconomic conditions will be something to watch in 2024 for the global dairy markets and the broader food system.

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Also published by Feedandadditive.com

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