The result from last night's Global Dairy Trade Auction was "pleasing", despite it being "flat overall", Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says.

The GDT price index rose 0.1 per cent compared to the previous event on May 19.

Whole milk powder prices, which have the greatest bearing on Fonterra's farmgate milk price, were up 2.1 per cent to US$2,761/tonne.

"To see whole milk powder up [just over] two per cent - yeah, pleased with that", Hurrell told The Country's Jamie Mackay.


Skim milk powder - the second biggest "reference" product for Fonterra, dropped 0.5 per cent to an average price US$2,530/tonne.

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrel. Photo / Dean Purcell
Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrel. Photo / Dean Purcell

Results for other main commodity groups were a drop of 2.9 per cent to US$3,960/tonne for anhydrous milk fat (AMF) and butter which was down 4.4 per cent to US$3,631/tonne.

The drop in butter was the result of international prices equalling out, although it was "a little bit more than expected", Hurrell said.

"We've had quite a premium over the Europeans and the Americans for quite some time on butter; so what we're seeing, I think, are those international prices come back to parity. We expected butter to come back more in line with international markets and it has done that".

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As for Fonterra's Farmgate Milk Price for the 2020/21 season, Hurrell told Mackay not to jump the gun in predicting a payout with the number seven in it.

"We've obviously got that wide range to reflect the uncertainty that exists, but this is a good start and we're starting to contract into the new season ... [there's] clearly 18 months to go before we close those books, so we won't get ahead of ourselves".

Fonterra's milk price for the coming year is set at $5.40-$6.90 per kg of milksolids.

Also in today's interview: Hurrell discussed how government intervention in the EU and US affected international prices and how Fonterra got through the Covid lockdown.