New Zealand commodity prices lifted in April and were significantly higher in March than previously reported, ANZ Bank's monthly commodity price index shows.

The ANZ world commodity price index lifted 2.5 per cent in April, following a corrected 4.1 per cent rise in March, ANZ said. The index is now 2.1 per cent higher than a year ago.

ANZ had previously said the index rose a monthly 1.4 per cent in March and fell 2.1 per cent on the year. Today's revision shows it rose an annual 0.6 per cent in March.

In local currency terms, the April index rose 4.2 per cent on the month and 8.4 per cent on the year.

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ANZ now says the NZ dollar index rose 4.1 per cent in March and 5.3 per cent on the year, having previously said it rose 1.4 per cent in the month and 2.5 per cent on the year.

According to ANZ, the indices for March were corrected due to an error in the dairy group. Butter, milk powders and cheese have all been corrected higher. The dairy group was published on April 3 with a 2.5 per cent increase but due to a spreadsheet error, has been corrected to a 9.6 per cent increase.

In April, dairy prices gained 4.4 per cent month-on-month having moderated from the strong lift recorded the previous month.

"Markets continue to be supported by tighter global supply which should underpin milk powder and butter prices in the coming months. Milk supply is now falling away rapidly with just one month left in the current production season," said ANZ agri economist Susan Kilsby.

"Exporters are tidying up sales for current season product but are increasingly focusing on forward sales for the new season."

The meat and fibre index lifted 3.8 per cent month-on-month in April with stronger prices recorded for both lamb and beef. "Both lamb and beef are benefiting from extra demand from China, as consumers look for alternatives sources of protein to fill the gap in the market caused by African Swine flu reducing pork supplies," she said.

The horticulture index fell 0.5 per cent due to larger quantities of new season supply, said Kilsby. The kiwifruit export season is off to a strong start with export returns for gold varieties tracking well ahead of the previous seasons.

The forestry price index eased 0.7 per cent on the month as softer prices for logs were only partially offset by stronger pulp prices.

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Aluminium prices eased 1.6 per cent month-on-month in April, giving up more than it gained in the two months prior. The recent easing in price has been driven by stronger global supply – particularly out of China – matched by softer demand.

- BusinessDesk