New Zealand commodity prices rose for a third straight month in September, edging closer to the record set in April, led by a jump in the price of wool to an 18-month high.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 0.9 per cent in September to 323.2 for an annual increase of 23 per cent. In April the index reached 333.5.

It comes the same day as prices rose in the fortnightly online dairy auction. Prices of dairy products rose 2.4 per cent in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction held overnight, paced by whole and skim milk powder, the biggest products by volume, while overall volumes stabilised.

The GDT Price Index, previously known as the GDT-TWI Price Index, rose 2.4 per cent compared to the last sale two weeks ago. The average winning price was US$4,980 a tonne compared to US$4,880 a tonne.


In the ANZ index, nine of the 17 commodities tracked rose in September, five fell and three were unchanged. Wool rose 13 per cent, while prices for beef, pelts and whole milk powder gained 2 per cent. Prices of apples, sheepmeat, casein and cheese rose 1 per cent, and sawn timber edged up 0.3 per cent to the highest level since October 2007.

Aluminium fell 3 per cent to a four-year low. Butter, logs, skim milk powder and kiwifruit all fell 1 per cent. Seafood, wood pulp and venison were unchanged.

Local producers didn't necessarily feel the benefits of price gains because the trade-weighted index climbed 2 per cent in the month. That saw the ANZ NZD Commodity Price Index fall 1.1 per cent, although the index is still up 24 per cent in the year.

Westpac Bank senior economist Ann Boniface said she expected commodity prices to remain elevated for the remainder of the year.

"Demand for soft commodities in traditional export markets such as the US and Europe has firmed a little, while changing consumption patterns in China has supported dairy prices in particular."