Dairy prices rise 1%

A lift of 1% in dairy prices partly offset the fall in broader commodity prices in the latest ANZ commodity price index.

The index eased 0.5% last month, the sixth successive monthly decrease, with prices 18.6% down on a year earlier.

Prices of dairy products rose for only the fourth time this year in the latest GlobalDairyTrade figures, paced by whole milk powder, the biggest product by volume sold through the platform by Fonterra Cooperative Group.

The GDT-TWI Price Index rose 3.5% compared with the last sale in July. The average winning price rose to $US2797 a metric tonne. Whole milk powder rose 3.5% to $US2675 a tonne and skim milk powder gained 3% to $2805 a tonne, BusinessDesk reported.

Since its peak in April last year, the ANZ commodity price index index has dropped 20.1% and is at its lowest since March 2010.

In part, the generalised fall in commodity prices was a symptom of heightened uncertainty and pessimism over global economic prospects, given the worsening European debt crisis, ANZ senior economist Mark Smith said.

For non-dairy commodities, the sharpest fall last month was in wool prices, which fell 7% to be 43% down on 12 months earlier.

Skin prices were down 4% and both beef and lamb prices were down 2%. Prices for sawn timber gained 1% and apples rose 2%.

Despite the monthly lift, dairy prices had fallen 26% over the past 12 months and were now 30% below historical peaks.

Yesterday, Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink said he was saddened by the resignation of Fonterra director Colin Armer.

Last month, Fonterra named John Wilson as successor to retiring chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden. Mr Armer was seen by some as the natural successor.

The decision meant Fonterra's board was losing genuine institutional knowledge and it seemed to be going from a blended board of new blood and older hands to a board where there would be some reasonably fresh directors, Mr Leferink said.

While that was not a criticism, experience needed to be retained in a blended board. It was all the more reason why the co-operative needed a deputy chairman, he said.


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