Whole Milk Powder Prices Rise to Two-Month High, Fonterra Says

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Whole milk powder auction prices rose to a two month high, according to Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd., the world’s largest dairy exporter.

Powder for February delivery gained 1.3 percent from two weeks earlier, according to a trade-weighted price index calculated by the company after its latest GlobalDairyTrade auction. The average price rose to $3,518 a ton, and is the highest for the spot contract since Oct. 5.

Fonterra accounts for about 40 percent of the global trade in butter, milk powder and cheese, selling $12 billion of product a year in 140 countries. On Nov. 5, the company reaffirmed it farmer payout forecast, saying a strengthening currency had countered a better-than-expected performance by global dairy prices.

Fonterra sells whole and skim milk powder and dried milk fat at its fortnightly Internet-based auctions. It offers one-month contracts with delivery starting two months after the sale, and two three-month contracts with delivery starting three and six months later.

Whole milk powder for delivery from March through May increased 4.1 percent, Fonterra said. Powder for shipment from June through August increased 2.6 percent. Across all contracts prices gained 2.6 percent.

The winning first-contract price for regular New Zealand whole milk powder, which is the reference point for NZX Ltd.’s futures contract, rose to $3,475. The December futures contract settled yesterday at $3,410.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Iain Wilson iwilson2@bloomberg.net