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NZ commodity prices fall from record in May, weighed down by dairy products

Wednesday 5th June 2013

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New Zealand commodity prices fell from a record in May, weighed down by lower prices for dairy products.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index dropped 1.6 percent to 328.2 in May, its second-highest level, from 333.5 in April. Six commodity prices weakened, nine strengthened and two were unchanged. Prices for dairy products dropped 5 percent but remained the second-highest on record.

Skim milk powder led the decline, falling 12 percent. Butter prices fell 7 percent, beef slid 5 percent and whole milk powder and pelts dropped 4 percent with the price of aluminium down 2 percent. Wood pulp and venison prices were unchanged.

Log prices jumped 11 percent, driven by resurgence in demand from China even as New Zealand's biggest trading partner imported less logs.

Export fruit prices recorded the next highest increase as the first shipments of the new season's harvest reached Northern Hemisphere markets. Kiwifruit prices lifted 9 percent and apple prices gained 8 percent. Casein and seafood prices increased 3 percent, cheese and wool prices rose 2 percent and lumber and lamb prices lifted 1 percent.

In New Zealand dollar terms, the index rose 0.7 percent as a decline in the currency was greater than the fall in prices. In local currency terms, the index is 7 percent off its March 2011 peak.

ANZ's index includes commodities which make up about 60 percent of New Zealand's $46 billion annual export earnings.

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