Global dairy prices surge in latest auction

The price for whole milk powder was up 5 percent.
The price for whole milk powder was up 5 percent. Photo credit: Getty

Dairy prices were up 4.3 percent overnight, in the latest Global Dairy Trade event.

The auction saw a rise in all commodities on offer, with whole milk powder - the most important product for New Zealand farmers - up 5 percent, to US$3182 per metric tonne (MT).

The average price for commodities was US$3261/MT, up from US$3157/MT in the last auction two weeks ago.

Prices for lactose rose 13.5 percent to US$1004/MT, butter was up 3.8 percent to US$3986/MT and skim milk powder rose 3.6 percent to US$2889/MT.

Prices for anhydrous milk fat increased 2.6 percent to US$4278/MT, cheddar was up 2.4 percent to $3734/MT and butter milk powder inched up 1.3 percent to US$2731/MT.

In total, 32,062 metric tonnes of product were sold at the auction.

ASB called the price increase a "bumper lift" in its weekly commodity report.

"This is one of the more dramatic price moves we’ve seen at recent auctions," wrote ASB economist Nat Keall.

"China has remained the dominant player across recent auctions, and while some buyers there have built up a decent stockpile, demand is continuing to rise. Dairy import volumes in China were up across the board in the latest data, with food insecurity a big theme. Although New Zealand faces growing competition from other exporters, we expect solid Chinese demand to help support prices at future auctions."

In October Fonterra increased its forecast farmgate milk price, raising its midpoint for the 2020/21 season price range to $6.80 per kilogram of solids, up from $6.40 per kgMS.