April 2, 2019 / 7:54 PM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 1-Prices for whole milk powder ease on lower global demand

* Global dairy prices rise 0.8 pct

* Prices for key product whole milk powder slip

* Lower demand from North Asia - analyst (Recasts, adds market reaction, analyst comment)

By Charlotte Greenfield

WELLINGTON, April 3 (Reuters) - Global dairy prices rose for the ninth time in a row at an auction on Wednesday but prices for whole milk powder, the most-traded item, edged down due to lower demand.

The GDT Price Index climbed 0.8 percent, with an average selling price of $3,483 per tonne, in the sale held in the early hours of the morning. That was a slowdown in pace from the 1.9 percent jump at the previous auction.

Whole milk powder prices dropped 1.3 percent.

“The decline ... reflects weaker demand across our markets, particularly North Asia and follows eight consecutive increases in average prices since December 2018,” said Robert Gibson, dairy analyst at AgriHQ, in a research note.

Skimmed milk powder prices rose 1.8 percent while butter gained 5.8 percent.

The auction results can affect the New Zealand dollar as the dairy sector generates more than 7 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

The kiwi currency was trading down 0.8 percent, close to seven-week lows, at $0.6749 in part due to the weak result for whole milk powder, one of New Zealand’s top goods exports.

A total of 17,854 tonnes was sold at the latest auction, falling 17.8 percent from the previous one, the auction platform said on its website.

GDT Events is owned by New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, but operates independently from the dairy giant. U.S.-listed CRA International Inc is the trading manager for the twice-monthly Global Dairy Trade auction.

A number of companies, including Dairy America and Murray Goulburn, use the platform to sell milk powder and other dairy products.

The auctions are held twice a month, with the next one scheduled for April 16. (Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; editing by David Evans)

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