Dairy product prices rose at the Global Dairy Trade auction, increasing for the third time in seven auctions, amid stronger-than-expected demand for whole milk powder.

The GDT price index rose 0.9 per cent from the previous auction two weeks ago to US$3,368. Some 34,117 tonnes of product was sold, up from 33,501 tonnes at the previous auction.

Whole milk powder increased 0.6 per cent to US$3,122 a tonne.

"Price gains [were] recorded in the nearby delivery contract but weaker prices [were] recorded in the later delivery contracts," AgriHQ dairy analyst Susan Kilsby said in a note, referring to whole milk powder.

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"The price for regular grade whole milk powder for November delivery fell less than 0.2 percent," said Kilsby. "Extra product was added into this contract last week so it was good to see that the market was able to absorb the additional whole milk powder without too much of a negative impact on the price."

"It was surprising to see more product added to the auction given the weak start to New Zealand's milk production season," Kilsby noted.

Anhydrous milk fat gained 5.3 per cent to US$6,764 a tonne, while butter rose 1.2 per cent to US$6,026 a tonne.

Meanwhile, skim milk powder fell 1.2 per cent to US$1,920 a tonne, while cheddar declined 1.9 per cent to US$4,032 a tonne.

"Skim milk powder pricing remains weak and this is unlikely to change while there is so much stock held in Europe," according to Kilsby.

Rennet casein slid 2.4 per cent to US$6,036 a tonne, while lactose dropped 3.8 per cent to US$759 a tonne.

Butter milk powder was not offered at this event.

The New Zealand dollar last traded at 73.20 US cents at 12.24pm in New York, compared with 72.63 US cents at 5pm in Wellington the previous day.

There were 134 winning bidders out of 174 participating at the 17-round auction. The number of qualified bidders rose to 539, up from 537 at the previous auction.