June 4, 2019 / 9:47 PM / 13 days ago

Global dairy prices fall 3.4 percent at fortnightly auction

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Global dairy prices sank for the second time in a row at an auction held early on Wednesday due to strong supply as prices eased off a long rally earlier in the year.

The GDT Price Index dipped 3.4%, with an average selling price of $3,423 per tonne. The index fell 1.2% at the previous sale, according to GDT Events.

Prices for whole milk powder, the most widely traded item fell 1.5%, while skim milk powder fell 4%.

“Softer prices likely reflecting a lift in offer volumes, which were up on the previous event,” said Robert Gibson, analyst at NZX. “Markets may also be anticipating adequate spring milk supplies, which at this point are looking positive.”

A total of 19,874 tonnes was sold at the latest auction, an increase of 28.1% from the previous one, the auction platform said on its website.

Prices had been rising throughout most of 2019 due to weak supply from New Zealand, combined with strong demand, particularly from Asia.

The auction results can affect the New Zealand dollar as the dairy sector generates more than 7 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

However, the New Zealand dollar was largely unchanged at $0.6607 on Wednesday morning.

GDT Events is owned by New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, but operates independently from the dairy giant.

The New Zealand milk co-operative, which is owned by about 10,500 farmers, controls nearly a third of the world dairy trade.

U.S.-listed CRA International Inc is the trading manager for the twice-monthly Global Dairy Trade auction.

A number of companies, including Dairy America and Murray Goulburn, use the platform to sell milk powder and other dairy products.

The auctions are held twice a month, with the next one scheduled for June 4.

Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; editing by Diane Craft

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