Whole milk powder prices increased for the first time in three months at Fonterra’s latest auction, averaging $3281/t. That was 0.8% more than the previous month and 52% higher than the same time last year.

For the first time, skimmed milk powder was also sold at the auction, and averaged $2927/t. Anhydrous milk fat values dropped by 5.4% to $3959/t.

Meanwhile, world butter and whole milk prices remained unchanged between January and February, at $3600/t and $3100/t, respectively, according to DairyCo’s Datum service. Skimmed milk powder and cheese prices eased by $200/t, to $2600/t and $3700/t, respectively.

“Part of the reason for the fall in price since the turn of the year has been the strength of the US dollar,” it said. Although milk supplies in the USA and New Zealand were increasing, strong export sales meant stocks were tightening, and prices were beginning to stabilise. “EU SMP and cheese is competitive with supplies from Oceania and the USA and, although butter and WMP are still expensive, the gap has diminished.”