Although intervention is open for butter in the UK at present, with markets trading at around £1,900 a tonne for salted and £1,940 for unsalted, there is no need or interest to intervene stocks. Declared prices in the UK were £181.65 per 100kg for unsalted on July 22 against an intervention threshold of £187.51/100kg. There is a degree of frustration in the market: "Everyone's talking about high prices, but nobody's actually getting them." Export demand has been good and there have been rumours of Russian interest in buying butter in Europe. "With the Australians and New Zealanders short of fat at the moment, it would be a good moment to sell to the Russians." If that did happen, the market could potentially top the £2,000/t milestone. Without significant extra demand, it can be expected to weaken as the winter approaches. Intervention stocks of skimmed milk powder (SMP) have nearly halved over the last few weeks. Available stocks have dropped from 38,444t at July 13 to 17,161t on July 27. Over 7,000t have been sold from the Irish Republic, taking Irish stocks below 10,000t. German stocks, too, have also fallen below 10,000t, as the SMP market continues to strengthen. {{PROVISIONS }}