This year is shaping up to be another strong one for most of New Zealand's export commodities, following on from what was a record year for many in 2019.
In October, the ASB Commodity Price Index broke the previous high set in March, 2011, and then proceeded to set a fresh record high each week over November.
Lamb, beef, fruit and seafood prices led the way late in the year, while forestry prices were at record highs back in March before slumping mid-year.
The bank said lamb prices set eight fresh record highs during September, October and November, with prices also cracking $9.00/kg for the first time ever.
Beef prices were not far behind, with AgriHQ's beef index setting seven fresh records over October and November.
Tim Richie, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association, said there had been an extraordinary run up in sheepmeat and beef prices late last year, followed by a sharp correction just before Christmas.
"It probably went too far, too quickly, so there has been a correction," he said.
However he said the fundamentals remained favourable.
"Fundamentally there is a shortage of meat, so that's got to be positive for prices," he said.
"But you never quite know what's around the corner, so one should not get too complacent."
ASB said the weaker NZ dollar had been giving all commodity prices a boost, particularly since July.
"Looking ahead, we expect NZ commodity prices to continue to remain healthy over 2020," ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny said in a commentary.
"In meat markets and seasonal patterns aside, we anticipate that prices will remain very high for an extended period as the impact of African Swine Fever is likely to persist over 2020 and potentially into 2021.
"Similarly, we also anticipate that fruit and seafood prices are likely to remain near record highs, if not drift a little higher," he said.
ASB expected dairy prices to rise over the first half of 2020 as global supply remained very tight.
Bank of NZ economist Doug Steel said New Zealand merchandise exports look set to push through the $60 billion mark for the first time over coming months, on their way toward $64 billion over the course of the year.
"Primary products, or more precisely food products, are forecast to be at the vanguard of this charge higher –underpinned by buoyant prices," Steel said.
But Steel said a key risk to the outlook would be a stronger New Zealand dollar.
"For the economy as a whole, the recent and expected strength in export receipts will provide fundamental support. It should aid growth to at least some extent," Steel said.
The 2019 year was another banner year for fruit exports.
After cracking $3 billion in exports for the first time over 2018, fruit exports are set for another leg up to around $3.4 billion over 2019.
The kiwifruit sector - led by gold kiwifruit exports - had been doing much of the fruit industry's "heavy lifting", ASB said.
In dairy, Fonterra ended last year with a $7.00 to $7.60/kg forecast range for 2019/20.
ASB has pencilled in a $7.50 forecast for the season, which ends on May 31.
The first Global Dairy Trade auction for 2020 notched up a 2.8 per cent gain, partly offsetting a sharp fall at the last auction for 2019.
"Almost as important as our bullish milk price view, our recent observation has been that milk price volatility has fallen. Indeed, we believe that the fall in milk price volatility is structural in nature."
In that sense, the farmgate milk price was moving to a higher plateau over coming seasons, Penny said.
Like lamb, beef prices have also come to the party over 2019, breaking record highs.
"P2" steer prices peaked at $6.24/kg in November, surpassing the previous record highs set back in October 2015.
Similar to the pattern in lamb prices, prices have declined a little since then, with current prices easing to $6.14/kg. However, prices remain at a record high for a December month.
The protein "hole" that African Swine Fever (ASF) had created was the key driver for record prices and the pork industry is expected to take several years to recover.
ASF aside, ASB said a sizeable protein gap globally meant beef prices would remain healthy over most of 2020.
While most commodities faced a positive outlook, forestry was the odd man out.
Penny said prices were likely to track sideways while demand remained subdued.