Dairy product prices gain for the second time in seven auctions

Dairy cow being milked on Warkworth farm. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

Dairy product prices rose at the Global Dairy Trade auction, gaining for the second time in the most recent seven events amid better-than-expected gains for anhydrous milkfat and skim milk powder.

The GDT price index rose 1.9 percent from the previous auction two weeks ago. The average price was US$3,637 a tonne. Some 18,161 tonnes of product was sold, down from 19,508 tonnes two weeks ago.

Whole milk powder gained 0.2 percent to US$3,226 a tonne.

“Whole milk powder slightly underperformed expectations,” Amy Castleton, AgriHQ dairy analyst, said in a note.

At the latest GDT auction, anhydrous milk fat rallied 5.8 percent to US$6,354 a tonne, while cheddar climbed 4.4 percent to US$4,205 a tonne.

“Anhydrous milk fat has been undervalued relative to butter on a milkfat content basis for quite some time,” Castleton noted. The latest results “go quite some way to closing the gap, but AMF is still undervalued relative to butter.”

Skim milk powder gained 3 percent to US$2,047 a tonne, while butter rose 2.4 percent to US$5,787 a tonne.

Bucking the trend, lactose dropped 3.5 percent to US$687 a tonne, while rennet casein shed 6.1 percent to US$4,876 a tonne.

Butter milk powder was not offered at this event.

For sweet whey powder, neither an index nor a price was available.

The New Zealand dollar last traded at 68.66 US cents as of 2.31pm in New York, compared with 69.13 US cents at the previous close in Wellington.

There were 111 winning bidders out of 164 participating at the 14-round auction. The number of registered bidders rose to 527, up from 519 at the previous auction.