Dairy product prices eked out a gain at the Global Dairy Trade auction, bucking expectations for a decline, as both whole and skim milk powder rose.
The GDT price index rose 1.3 per cent to US$3,537, up from US$3,517 at the previous auction three weeks ago. Some 21,273 tonnes of product was sold, below the 22,030 tonnes at the previous auction.
Whole milk powder rose 1 per cent to US$3,314 a tonne.
"Milk powder prices exceeded market expectations," AgriHQ dairy analyst Susan Kilsby said in a note.
Regular grade New Zealand-sourced whole milk powder supplied by Fonterra with an April delivery date was priced at US$3,290 per tonne, US$90 above the price which the February WMP futures contract closed at on Tuesday, Kilsby noted.
At the latest GDT auction, lactose jumped 12.4 per cent to US$910 a tonne, while butter climbed 4.9 per cent to US$4,593 a tonne.
Anhydrous milk fat gained 4 per cent to US$5,765 a tonne, while skim milk powder inched 0.1 per cent higher to US$2,608 a tonne.
Demand for skim milk powder was considerably better than the 6-per cent price fall anticipated by the NZX Dairy Derivatives market, Kilsby said.
Butter milk powder dropped 7.5 per cent to US$2,254 a tonne, while cheddar fell 3.7 per cent to US$3,798 a tonne, and rennet casein eased 0.4 per cent to US$6,445 a tonne.
The New Zealand dollar last traded at 73.15 US cents at about noon in New York, compared with 73.21 US cents at 5pm in Wellington the previous day.
There were 104 winning bidders out of 172 participating at the 12-round auction. The number of qualified bidders rose to 530, up from 526 at the previous auction.