Dairy product prices eked out again at the Global Dairy Trade auction, rising for the third time in the past ten auctions, as a decline in whole milk powder limited gains.

The GDT price index rose 0.2 per cent from the previous auction two weeks ago. The average price was US$3,306 a tonne, compared with US$3,303 a tonne two weeks ago. Some 38,716 tonnes of product was sold, down from 37,345 tonnes two weeks ago.

Whole milk powder slipped 0.2 per cent to US$3,141 a tonne.

"Softer prices were likely linked to a lift in volumes sold at this event, compared with the previous event with less volumes being sold into North Asia," NZX dairy analyst Robert Gibson said in a note.

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At the latest GDT auction, buttermilk powder jumped 6.7 per cent to US$2,670 a tonne.

Skim milk powder climbed 2.7 per cent to US$2,674 a tonne. "The lift in price occurred despite an increase in volumes sold, and is likely a reflection of stronger demand from Asian markets," according to Gibson. "Prices lifted for all delivery dates from November to March, with stronger price increases occurring for February and March."

Listen to Jamie Mackay's GDT interview with Fonterra's CFO Marc Rivers on The Country:

Lactose gained 1.8 per cent to US$784 a tonne, while rennet casein added 0.7 per cent to US$6,683 a tonne.

Anhydrous milk fat was steady at US$4,997 a tonne.

Butter slipped 0.2 per cent to US$4,125 a tonne, while cheddar declined 0.7 per cent to US$3,717 a tonne.

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 62.44 US cents at 8am in Wellington.

There were 131 winning bidders out of 184 participating at the 16-round auction. The number of registered bidders was 504, up from 501 at the previous auction.

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