Global dairy prices remain steady in latest auction

Dairy prices inched up 0.3 percent overnight.
Dairy prices inched up 0.3 percent overnight. Photo credit: Getty

Dairy prices inched up 0.3 percent overnight in the latest Global Dairy Trade event.

The small increase came after prices surged 15 percent in early March before dropping 3.8 percent in the previous auction two weeks ago.

The 15 percent increase was the highest price in seven years at the auction, with the price for whole milk powder - the most important commodity for New Zealand farmers - rising a massive 21 percent.

In the latest auction whole milk powder recorded no change from the previous event, remaining at US$4085 per metric tonne (MT). 

The average price for commodities sold at the auction was US$4081/MT.

Buttermilk powder saw the biggest increase in price, surging 17.6 percent to US$3710/MT, while cheddar rose 2.2 percent to US$4393/MT.

Prices for butter increased 2 percent to US$5776/MT, anhydrous milk fat was up 0.8 percent to US$6209/MT and skim milk powder rose 0.6 percent to US$3367/MT.

The only product to drop in price was lactose, which fell 6.5 percent to US$1307/MT.

Rabobank senior analyst Emma Higgens described the results as being "largely flat" but said the auction should be "read as a good result for New Zealand dairy farmers".

One reason for this, she said, was despite some buyers taking "a step back in the face of high prices" demand from China remains high.

"Buying appetite is still much stronger than in previous auctions for this time of the year," Higgens said. 

A total of 25,105 metric tonnes of product was sold at the auction.