Dairy product prices declined at the Global Dairy Trade auction, easing for the fourth time in five auctions.

The GDT price index fell 0.4 per cent from the previous auction two weeks ago to US$3,339. Some 32,260 tonnes of product was sold, down from 32,768 tonnes at the previous auction.

Whole milk powder slid 0.6 per cent to US$3,143 a tonne.

Lactose dropped 4.9 per cent to US$747 a tonne, while butter fell 1.3 per cent to US$5,735 a tonne, and anhydrous milk fat slipped 1.2 per cent to US$6,199 a tonne.


"Offer volumes of milkfats are set to decline slightly over coming months, while Fonterra directs milk into added-value products and whole milk powder over New Zealand's peak milk-producing months," AgriHQ dairy analyst Susan Kilsby said in a note. "However buyers haven't taken notice of this yet and are relying on more fat being available from New Zealand as it lifts its milk production this season."

Meanwhile, skim milk powder added 0.3 per cent to US$1,968 a tonne.

Skim milk powder "prices have been effectively flat in Europe for some weeks now, which is flowing through to Oceania prices," Kilsby noted. "The market is waiting on a decision by the European Commission on what it will do with the stockpile of SMP in the government-run intervention scheme."

Cheddar gained 1.4 per cent to US$4,005 a tonne, and rennet casein rose 2.9 per cent to US$6,255 a tonne.

Butter milk powder was not offered at this event.

The New Zealand dollar last traded at 72.37 US cents at 2.35pm in New York, compared with 72.87 US cents at 5pm in Wellington the previous day.

There were 140 winning bidders out of 174 participating at the 13-round auction. The number of qualified bidders rose to 522, up from 521 at the previous auction.