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Milk Powder Prices Climb to Two-Month High in Fonterra Auction

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Whole-milk powder prices ose at a second successive auction, reaching a two-month high, according to Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd.

Powder for March delivery rose 2.4 percent, according to a trade-weighted index on the company’s GlobalDairyTrade website. The near-term contract for New Zealand product rose to $3,261 a metric ton, the highest price since Nov. 20.

Fonterra in December raised its forecast payment to farmers, saying it expects higher global dairy prices in the first half of 2013. While milk prices fell toward year-end as new season output from New Zealand and other southern hemisphere producers entered the market, they are 28 percent higher than in mid-July after the worst U.S. drought in 56 years curbed supply.

The Auckland-based company, which accounts for about 40 percent of the global trade in dairy products, sells whole, skim and butter-milk powder, dried-milk fat, lactose, cheese and casein at its GlobalDairyTrade auctions. It offers monthly contracts with delivery starting from two months after the sale. Casein is a protein found in milk.

Whole-milk powder for April delivery rose 3.3% while prices across all five product contracts out to July rose 2.8 percent, Fonterra said.

In other auctions, prices for March delivery of milk fat and casein also increased. Butter milk powder, cheddar and milk protein concentrate fell while skim milk powder was unchanged. Lactose wasn’t offered in the sale.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Bourke at cbourke4@bloomberg.net

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