Dollar blow
The weak dollar is having a severe effect on EU dairy exports to the world markets. Exports are normally priced in dollars, so prices for EU shipments of skim and whole milk powder are suffering. In December the dollar fell 5% against the euro with a further drop of 4% in January.
This, combined with the cut in EU export subsidies in early December, is making returns for EU exporters very unattractive and few deals are being made.
And with world market buyers resisting any price rise, the result has been something of a standstill in trade.
However with sterling following the dollar down, by 2% against the euro, UK exporters have not suffered so acutely. This has slightly improved the competitive position of supplies from the UK compared with those from the Eurozone.

Record crop
This year's bumper Californian pistachio crop is being heralded as a record.
The 2002 harvest produced a final total of 302.4 million lbs, of which 241 million lbs are clean, open in-shell.
The crop is 21% higher than the previous record of 241.5 million lbs, set in 2000, and 47% higher than last year.
Industry members are now set to meet at the Californian Pistachio Commission's annual conference in Monterey this March.

Premium stays
Robert Wiseman Dairies has confirmed it is to maintain its premium price to milk producers until the end of March.The company currently pays 18.93p per litre, inclusive of the full 2p per litre rise driven by the retail sector.
The company said long-term sustainability on the price was dependent on the supermarket initiative being maintained and its competitors improving their position.

Turkish gulf
A price gulf is looming between the different grades of Turkish sultanas.
The plentiful supply of lower grade material are leading to prices of around $775 per tonne fob lzmir.
Meanwhile the shorter supplies of premium grades, no 9s and no 10s, are trading at around $875.
Traders said they are expecting the prices of lower grades to soften further while higher grades could still rise.
Turkish apricot prices have fallen over the last two weeks with whole pitted no 4s now at around $2,550 a tonne fob Izmir, down by $250.
Greek currant prices have risen substantially and it looks as if they are holding their ground.
Prices currently stand at 11,750 per tonne fob Piraeus for good quality provincial fruit range, with vostizzas on a 1100 premium.
Trade remains brisk with exports running at the same levels as last season but tight supplies could mean more rises.

Bar man
The campaign to encourage milk consumption in schools is taking off, organisers claim.
Food and farming minister Lord Whitty was on hand to mark the opening of the 100th school milk bar at Burlington Danes School in London last week.
The move is part of a major drive by producer First Milk, alongside the Milk Development Council, to install bars in schools across England and Wales.
Brian Peacock, chairman of the Milk Development Council, commented: "These school milk bars are a great way of getting the positive message of milk across to younger consumers."