Brussels will reduce export subsidy on SMP by 11%. This comes after a two-month period in which demand for EU powder rose on world markets because of a lack of supplies from Australia and New Zealand.
The decision was questioned by member states which argued the increase in demand was too fragile to warrant a subsidy reduction.
In a second controversial move, the Commission set out plans to release up to 40,000t of public stock of SMP for sale by tender to the EU's animal feed industry, or for normal commercial use at a premium of E1/t above intervention.

n butter up to 54p
Cheap blended butter has been rising in price at some of the leading UK multiples. In the past few weeks it has moved from 45p/250g to 54p.
The increase is not believed to be linked to efforts to increase returns to UK dairy farmers by £200/t since most of the cheaper blended butter is not of UK origin. It is more likely the result of shoppers increasingly switching to spreadable products, where the leading brands retail for prices of about 93p per 25g.

n pink salmon up
Pink salmon prices are firming after reports the US government would purchase more 418g cans early in 2003. The last tender cleared 100,000 cases, and another similar quantity would firm the market.
Reds are on promotion in UK retailers which will continue in the run-up to Christmas. Most of the activity will be on the two leading brands, John West and Princes, because own labels do not have the funding needed to support bogof deals.
Meanwhile, US and Canadian packers are concentrating on their domestic markets, where they have share to protect.

n milk levy rise
The government has given the Milk Development Council clearance to increase the milk levy. The council will restore the levy to 0.06ppl and use the money to promote milk and milk products.
Chief executive Kevin Bellamy said: "Restoring the levy to 0.06ppl will enable the MDC to match fund monies from Europe and British processors to promote the White Stuff campaign.This money will enable us to implement a long-term promotion for British milk."

n SA promise
South African peach and pear crops are looking promising, according to industry insiders.
One grower said: "The market is demanding more canned product, and South Africa will be able to supply it with good quality peaches and pears."
Fruit cocktail is also looking good after the devastation to supplies from the northern hemisphere caused by storms and floods. Prices are expected to rise and South African traders should benefit from the shortage.