Prices of dairy products posted their third-biggest gain in about two years in the latest GlobalDairyTrade sale overnight, paced by whole and skim milk powder.

The GDT-TWI Price Index rose 7.8 per cent compared to the last sale two weeks ago. In the past two years, that's only been exceeded by the June 5 result, when prices jumped 13.6 per cent, and the Sept. 1, 2010, gain of 17 per cent. The average winning price rose to US$3,054 a metric tonne.

Whole milk powder rose 7 per cent to US$2,870 a tonne and skim milk powder gained 7.3 per cent to $3,023 a tonne.

The New Zealand dollar strengthened following the latest GDT results, which provide some optimism that prices of the nation's biggest export commodity are finding a base. The kiwi was recently at 80.67 US cents from 80.50 cents at 5pm in Wellington yesterday. Fonterra has said it expects global supply and demand to come more into balance in the second half of the year, arresting the slide in prices.


In the latest GDT auction, anhydrous milk fat jumped 14 per cent to US$3,173 a tonne and butter milk powder climbed 10.2 per cent to US$2,668 a tonne.

Cheddar rose 8.8 per cent to US$3,401 a tonne. Lactose wasn't offered in the latest auction. Milk protein concentrate gained 15.4 per cent to US$5,351 a tonne and rennet casein rose 4.7 per cent to US$7,100 a tonne.

There were 103 winning bidders over 17 rounds. There were 168 participating bidders out of a total number of qualified bidders that rose to 703 from 702.