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Commodity boom set to trickle down - ANZ

Monday 4th April 2011

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The national economy is poised to benefit from increased rural income that will inevitably filter through from burgeoning international commodity markets, according to economists at a major bank.

Soft rural land values and a strong focus on balance sheets had so far curtailed the benefit of the commodities boom to the broader economy, said ANZ economist Steve Edwards.

"This will not continue indefinitely," he said today. "It is only a matter of time before this rejuvenation spills over into other pockets of the economy."

Edwards said the ANZ Commodity Price Index had lifted 4.7% in March, a new record and the seventh consecutive monthly rise in the index.

This latest month also recorded stronger increases in commodity prices than any of the preceding six months.

"For the first time in 17 years there wasn't a single decrease in the price of any individual commodity in the basket of 17 commodities that we monitor," he said - 14 commodity prices increased and three were unchanged.

The price of wool strengthened 12% in March, with prices having doubled in the past 12 months.

Whole milkpowder (WMP) prices also rose 12%, ahead of a 7% rise in skim milkpowder (SMP) prices.

Lumber and skin prices increased by 7% rise in the month, while beef and log prices grew 3%, lamb, casein, butter and aluminium prices lifted 2%; venison and cheese prices rose 1%; and seafood prices increased by 0.5%.

The export prices of wood pulp, kiwifruit and apples were unchanged over the month.

Because the value of the New Zealand dollar weakened in March, the rise in the NZ-dollar commodity price index was magnified, lifting 8.1% from the preceding month, to an all-time high.

"The NZ-dollar priced commodity index is 25% higher than its level a year ago, and nearly double the low point recorded in February 2009, which followed the global financial crisis," Edwards said.



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