S&P Dow Jones Indices said it had collaborated with the NZX to form a skim milk powder index to track the progress of the world's most actively traded dairy export.

The index is the latest in a series of single commodity indices to be introduced by S&P Dow Jones.

The world's biggest index provider said its S&P GSCI Skim Milk Powder index would be the first of its kind in the commodities market.

"The global dairy commodity markets have been largely untapped and inaccessible to investors until recently," Fiona Boal, head of commodities and real assets at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said.

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"Our goal is to develop a series of transparent and innovative indices that help investors track the performance of this unique asset class across different geographies," she said in a statement.

S&P Dow Jones collaborated with the NZX to create the index, based on NZX Skim Milk Powder futures contracts.

Nick Morris, head of derivatives at NZX, said the index is the first Oceania-based single commodity index added to the S&P GSCI family of indices.

"With trading volumes in NZX dairy derivatives continuing to expand, we are pleased to see the development of index and data products that support the future growth in liquidity of our global dairy contracts," he said.

The S&P GSCI Skim Milk Powder index will provide the market with an index price referenced to NZX Skim Milk Powder futures -- the benchmark futures product for global exports of skim milk powder.

New Zealand is the world's largest exporter of dairy products and the third largest skim milk powder exporter after the European Union and United States.

"There is growing global demand for benchmarks and financial tools that measure the risks and returns of the dairy market as milk consumption is expected to increase worldwide," Boal said.

"The S&P GSCI Skim Milk Powder index helps facilitate exposure to a unique asset that is uncorrelated to major commodities such as gold while maintaining a link to the New Zealand dollar and equity market," Boal added.

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