Dairy product prices fell at the Global Dairy Trade auction, spurred by slides in butter and anhydrous milk fat that were the biggest in about two years.

The GDT price index dropped 3.5 per cent from the previous auction two weeks ago. The average price was US$2,727 a tonne, compared with US$2,851 a tonne two weeks ago. Some 42,966 tonnes of product was sold, up from 42,412 tonnes two weeks ago.

Whole milk powder declined 1.8 per cent to US$2,599 a tonne which, NZX dairy analyst Amy Castleton said, was "a surprisingly resilient result."

"Whole milk price offer volumes were at their highest for the season," Castleton said in a note, adding that New Zealand milk production figures released yesterday showed October production was up 6.5 per cent on a milksolids basis.

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"Most of the whole milk powder sold went to North Asia, which includes China," Castleton said.

At the latest GDT auction, butter plunged 9.6 per cent to US$3,637 a tonne, while anhydrous milk fat sank 9.4 per cent to US$4,577 a tonne.

"There was significantly less volume of anhydrous milk fat sold compared with the previous event, but there was more butter sold," according to Castleton. "There hasn't been such a big percentage change in prices for either AMF and butter since late 2016."

Rennet casein dropped 4.5 per cent to US$5,067 a tonne, while skim milk powder retreated 1.6 per cent to US$1,965 a tonne.

"The price of European skim milk powder increased slightly; however, Oceania product managed to maintain its premium over European product," said Castleton.

Bucking the trend, cheddar eked out a 0.2 per cent gain to US$3,252 a tonne, while lactose rose 1.1 per cent to US$920 a tonne.

Buttermilk powder was not offered at this event. For sweet whey powder, no product was offered or sold, or no price was published for the last event, or on both of the two previous events.

The New Zealand dollar last traded at 68.10 US cents as of 1.13pm in New York, compared with 68.39 US cents at the previous close in Wellington.

There were 143 winning bidders out of 170 participating at the 15-round auction. The number of registered bidders was 503, down from 517 at the previous auction.

(BusinessDesk)