Brian Fallow

The Economics Editor of the NZ Herald

Commodity prices keep rising

Butter prices rose 6 per cent to their highest level for 2 years. Photo / Greg Bowker
Butter prices rose 6 per cent to their highest level for 2 years. Photo / Greg Bowker

Export commodity prices continued to put on weight last month, led by gains in cheese and butter.

ANZ's commodity price index rose 0.9 per cent to a new high, 22 per cent above its level a year ago as nine of the 17 commodities the index tracks posted increases while four declined.

Cheese prices rose 7 per cent to a six-year high. Unlike milk powder, the market for which is heavily concentrated in China, the largest export destination for cheese, Japan, accounted for just 22 per cent of the $1.4 billion worth of cheese New Zealand exported in the year ended January 2014.

Butter prices rose 6 per cent to their highest level for 2 years. Log prices continued their strong run, rising another 2 per cent last month to a 20-year high.

Skim milk powder, beef, pelts, casein, lamb and lumber were the other commodities to record rises.

Wool led the declines, dropping 3 per cent to a six-month low, while aluminium dropped 2 per cent to a 4-year low. Whole milk powder and seafood eased slightly.

Because the New Zealand dollar was little changed last month, in currency-adjusted terms the commodity price index also rose 0.9 per cent, to be 24 per cent higher than a year ago.

- NZ Herald

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