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Commodity prices continue to break records

Wednesday 2nd June 2010

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New Zealand commodity prices recorded their 14th straight monthly gain in May, pushing the ANZ Commodity Price Index to a new record, led by dairy products, skins and kiwifruit.

The ANZ index rose 2.5% to 283.6 last month, following a revised 5.4% gain in April. Dairy prices rose 4% to be up by nearly two thirds from a year earlier. Prices of skins climbed 12% and kiwifruit rose 11%.

In New Zealand dollar terms, the index rose 2.9% to 216.5, also a record, meaning farmers will get more of the benefit of stronger world prices than they’ve received when the kiwi dollar has been strong against the greenback. The currency recently traded at 67.54 US cents, down from 73.06 cents a month ago.

The ANZ commodities data comes after the results of Fonterra Cooperative Group’s latest online auction, which showed the average price of whole milk powder fell 3.4% this month to US$3,790 a tonne, still more than double its trough of July last year. Still, there was less demand for the furthest out contract, suggesting traders are still apprehensive that there will be further volatility in world prices.

The ANZ index showed prices rose for eight of the 13 commodities measured. Wood pulp rose 6% from April’s 10-year high, wool gained 5% and lamb was up 3%. Venison climbed 2% and logs rose 1%. Seafood prices were unchanged from the previous month.

Among decliners, world prices of aluminium fell 11%, apples dropped 6%, beef declined 3% and sawn timber slipped 2%.

Last month, Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, lifted its forecast pay-out for next season to $6.60 per kilogram of milk solids, while warning that gains in prices could be capped by volatile global markets.

Chairman Henry van der Heyden said if prices and the exchange rate stayed at today’s level, the pay-out could be in excess of $8.00 per kilogram.

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