Prices of dairy exports from Oceania have corrected downward in recent weeks by around 6% following sharp rises over the second half of 2009 that took them back to levels last seen in 2008. The correction comes as Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter, announced a 7.1% fall in the price of whole milk powder sold through its internet auction platform in its January auction from December. Dairy export prices plummeted during the closing months of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 to levels not seen, in some cases, since around 2004. Prices had risen sharply from the end of 2006 and peaked before global demand fell away as the global financial crisis intensified from September 2008. Prices then bottomed out and remained subdued throughout the first half of 2009 before staging a strong comeback as global demand for dairy products reemerged. Prices peaked in the first weeks of December, but fell away over the Christmas/new year period. Figures released by the US Department of Agriculture show the average price for whole milk powder exported from Oceania peaked at an average US$3,550 per tonne in mid December, following a 92% rise from February 2009. However, prices have now fallen back 5.6% to average US$3,350/t.
Skim milk powder prices peaked at US$3,400/t at the start of December, following a 94% rise from February. Over the last month, prices have fallen 6.6% to average US$3,175/t. Butter prices rose 131% between April and December, peaking at US$4,150/t. They have now corrected back by 7.2% to an average of US$3,850/t. Finally, cheddar cheese price rose 85% between April and December to US$4,450/t. The average price has fallen back 4.5% to US$4,250/t in recent weeks.