5 Mar 2018

Dairy prices boost commodities index

5:33 pm on 5 March 2018

The country's main commodities have had their strongest rise in prices in eight months, driven by a recovery in dairy prices.

Organic milking teat cups.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

ANZ Bank's latest commodity price index rose 2.8 percent last month, the second monthly gain in a row and the biggest rise since June last year.

The bank said the lift was broad-based, but dairy was the strongest with a 6 percent rise, followed by meat and wool.

It said the improvement in dairy prices was driven by concerns about a possible early finish to the New Zealand season and cooler weather in Europe.

The only commodity to fall was aluminium, down 1.6 percent from January's six-and-a-half year high.

The US government is threatening to impose a 10 percent tariff on aluminium imports, to protect domestic production.

ANZ senior economist Phil Borkin said the threatened tariff might weigh on world prices for the metal.

The strong commodity report comes as the country's terms of trade - a measure of New Zealand's purchasing power with the rest of the world - hit a record high at the end of last year.

"We are assuming that it stabilises around this level over the next couple of years. And while today's figures only represent half of the equation, the lifts seen over 2018 to date do suggest there is a possibility of some further near-term upside," Mr Borkin said.

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