Dairy product prices eased again at the Global Dairy Trade auction, posting two straight declines for the first time since March, as prices slid for most products except whole milk powder and butter milk powder.
The GDT price index fell 0.4 per cent from the previous auction two weeks ago to US$3,303. Some 28,574 tonnes of product was sold, up from 21,171 tonnes at the previous auction.
Even so, whole milk powder gained, rising 2.6 per cent to US$3,111 a tonne.
"Prices for nearer-dated contracts lifted more than prices for later dated ones, suggesting some buyers need whole milk powder more urgently than others," AgriHQ dairy analyst Susan Kilsby said in a note.
At the latest GDT auction, skim milk powder fell 4.5 per cent to US$2,090 a tonne, while anhydrous milk fat declined 3.5 per cent to US$6,596 a tonne.
Lactose retreated 3.3 per cent to US$839 a tonne, while cheddar gave up 3.2 per cent to US$4,051 a tonne.
Rennet casein eased 2.7 per cent to US$6,133 a tonne, while butter slipped 0.1 per cent to US$5,775 a tonne.
"There has been concern that buyers would no longer be able to absorb the record prices that [butter and anhydrous milkfat] have been hitting, though it is too early to tell whether this is the start of a longer term downward trend," Kilsby noted.
"Butter prices are still more than double what they were this time last year and anhydrous milkfat prices are 80 percent higher," according to Kilsby.
Meanwhile, "the large stocks of skim milk powder available from Europe continue to overhang the market," said Kilsby.
Bucking the trend, butter milk powder jumped 10.8 per cent to US$2,264.
The New Zealand dollar last traded at 72.92 US cents at noon in New York, compared with 72.95 US cents at 5pm in Wellington the previous day.
There were 127 winning bidders out of 165 participating at the 19-round auction. The number of qualified bidders rose to 523, up from 522 at the previous auction.
"There were more winning bidders at this event, including more from North Asia," according to Kilsby. "Buyers from North Asia and from the Middle East bought more product than they did at the June 20 event."