Jamie Gray

Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the New Zealand Herald and APNZ wire agency

Commodities up a notch in August, says ANZ

NZ's commodity prices were up slightly last month, after seven consecutive months of decline. Photo / File
NZ's commodity prices were up slightly last month, after seven consecutive months of decline. Photo / File

The ANZ's New Zealand commodity price index rose by 0.5 per cent in world price terms in the month of August following seven consecutive months of decline, the bank said.

The rise in New Zealand's commodity prices contrasts with a 3 per cent fall in the Reserve Bank of Australia's index of commodity prices for Australia.

Nevertheless, commodity prices in both countries are roughly 15 per cent weaker than a year ago, ANZ said.

A lift in global dairy prices was the catalyst for the turnaround in the New Zealand index, even though the number of commodities that dropped in price was greater than the number that rose.

Five commodity prices increased in August, five were unchanged and seven prices decreased.

Skim milk powder prices rose 5 per cent in August, followed by beef, butter and whole milk powder prices, all of which rose 3 per cent, and kiwifruit prices which ticked up by 1 per cent.

The price of pelts recorded the largest fall across the commodity basket in August, with an 8 per cent drop.

Wool prices fell 5 per cent, wood pulp prices eased 3 per cent, and logs, casein, apples and aluminium prices all declined 2 per cent. Prices for lamb, venison, seafood, cheese and sawn timber were unchanged.

Dairy prices have now lifted to a three-month high, but remain 29 per cent below the peak measured in March 2011.

Last week Fonterra announced a reduced dairy payout for the 2012/13 season, but noted improving prices in recent dairy price auctions.

"The recent turnaround in dairy prices may indicate that a floor has been reached in the international marketplace, but this strength is being tempered somewhat by a strong New Zealand dollar," ANZ said.

- APNZ

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