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Commodity prices up in July, led by wool

New Zealand commodity prices eked out a small gain last month, snapping two months of declines, led by rising wool prices, according to the ANZ Commodity Price Index.

The index rose 0.6 per cent to 318 last month, following a 3.7 per cent decline in June, for an annual increase of almost 26 per cent. In New Zealand dollar terms, the index rose 0.6 per cent to 217.2 for a 27 per cent annual gain.

Of the 17 commodities tracked, nine increased, five fell and three were unchanged. Wool prices showed the biggest increase, rising 4 per cent in July for a 23 per cent annual gain, followed by 3 per cent gains in prices of skim milk powder, casein and lamb.

Pelt prices increased 2 per cent, while logs, butter, and whole milk powder each rose 1 per cent. Lumber prices increased a quarter of a percentage point.

Cheese prices were the biggest decliner in July, falling 3 per cent, followed by a 2 per cent fall in prices of aluminium and kiwifruit. Beef and seafood prices fell 0.25 per cent. The price of apples, wood pulp and venison were unchanged.

Exports of primary goods make up about $30.98 billion of New Zealand's annual $45.72 billion international sales.

The report comes before Wednesday's GlobalDairyTrade auction, which is expected to show the impact of Fonterra's contaminated whey protein on prices. The dairy exporter has been achieving elevated prices amid limited global supply, and last week hiked its forecast payout to farmers for the 2014 season.

- BusinessDesk

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