Commodity prices rise

New Zealand commodity prices lifted last month, led by the price of pelts.

Although the ANZ commodity price index increased 1% in November, the rise followed an equally sharp drop the previous month, so the series returned to where it was two months previously, which was a 23-month low, economist Steve Edwards said.

Ten commodity prices rose in November, including pelts which, at 6%, recorded the strongest percentage increase, four were weaker and three were unchanged.

Sawn timber prices increased to a two and-a-half year high and whole milk powder posted its fifth successive monthly rise to reach an eight-month high.

Cheese and beef prices also touched an eight-month high and seafood prices lifted to a six-month high.

At the other extreme, lamb prices eased to a 31-month low and the price of venison eased to a 22-month low.

The increase in New Zealand dollar commodity prices was an encouraging development and, if sustained, seemed set to contribute to a rise in the goods terms of trade over 2013, Mr Edwards said.

The ANZ NZD commodity price index was 5% higher than the recent trough three months ago, but remained 22% below the peak recorded in March last year.

Westpac economist Nathan Penny said world commodity prices rose 1% in November, led by meat and dairy price gains.

World dairy prices had now risen for five consecutive months as the effects of drought conditions lingered in the northern hemisphere, while meat prices posted their second monthly gain.

Westpac expected an improvement in Asian economic growth and the lingering effects of the northern drought would support commodity price increases over the remainder of 2012 and into 2013.

Despite the overall increase in meat prices, lamb and beef prices were ''marching to a different beat''.

In annual terms, NZD lamb prices were 30% lower than a year ago while beef prices were only marginally down from record highs.


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