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Whole Milk Powder Auction Prices Rise to Highest in Four Months

August 21, 2013

Prices recover after a decline two weeks ago amid a contamination scare involving Fonterra’s whey protein product.

Tracy Withers

Whole milk powder auction prices rose to the highest in four months, recovering after a decline two weeks ago amid a contamination scare, according to Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd.

Powder for delivery across all contracts through February rose 2.7 percent, according to a trade-weighted index posted on Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade website. The average winning price climbed to $5,124 a metric ton, the highest since April 16, from $5,021 at the last auction two weeks ago.

Prices dropped 1.6 percent on Aug. 6 after Auckland-based Fonterra revealed that some whey protein made at a New Zealand plant may have been contaminated, prompting product recalls and an import ban in China. No products offered in the auctions were affected by the trade suspension.

Fonterra, which accounts for about a third of the global trade in dairy products, sells whole, skim and butter-milk powder, dried-milk fat, lactose, butter, cheese and casein at its GlobalDairyTrade auctions. Casein is a protein found inmilk. Prices across all products rose 2.3 percent.

The company has signaled it will offer less milk powder at auctions over the next 12 months, underpinning prices, Con Williams, an economist at ANZ Banking Group Ltd. in Wellington, said in an e-mailed note.

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