The final disappearance of remaining intervention stocks of skimmed milk powder (SMP) in Belgium, Ireland and Scandinavia means that the market has not just cleared but most manufacturers are sold forward for the rest of this year. The European Commission has already cut export refunds and, to be level handed, last week announced a 15% cut in animal feed subsidies for SMP. Since animal feed makers buy about 40% of EU production, they have been lobbying hard to protect their interests, but with little success. They are now paying more with less subsidy. Today, there are only three tonnes of EU intervention SMP available for disposal ­ a relic of last September's 244,000t SMP stockpile. {{PROVISIONS }}