NZ export prices rise 1% in US$ terms in March, but wiped out by NZ$ rise

NZ export prices rise 1% in US$ terms in March, but wiped out by NZ$ rise
New Zealand's export commodity prices rose 1% in world price terms in March from February but fell 3.4% in New Zealand dollar terms, the latest ANZ Commodity Price Index showed. The increase in world price terms was the first since July 2008, yet prices were still down 31.4% from March last year. Meat and dairy prices drove the increase from February, ANZ economist Philip Borkin said. Beef and lamb prices were up 4.2% and 3.9% in world price terms, respectively. Dairy prices rose 2.8% over the month, their first rise in seven months after falling 58% from their peak. Forestry prices didn't fare as well, with log prices down 12.1% and lumber prices down 6.3% from February. New Zealand exporters received little benefit over the month with the New Zealand dollar commodity price index falling 3.4% in March (down 4% from a year ago). On a trade weighted basis, the NZ dollar rose 3% over the month. "While the level of the NZ dollar has provided some insulation to exporters from the previous falls in the prices for our key merchandise exports, this latest appreciation in the NZ dollar is not favourable. At a time when the domestic economy is still very weak, a higher NZ dollar is likely to delay any support the export sector is able to provide," Borkin said.

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