The New Zealand GDT dairy auction result fell unexpectedly by 4.7% this week, compounding the 2.6% fall at the auction two weeks ago. Whole milk powder was down 5.2% with skim down 2.5%. This means the average index result is the lowest it has been in two and half years as China buying remains sluggish.

The result came as New Zealand’s largest co-op Fonterra revised downwards its latest price prediction to $8.30/kg milk solids or the equivalent of 35.4c/l.

European co-op heavyweights FrieslandCampina and Arla have set April price this week at 45c/l and 47c/l, respectively.

Board members of the Irish Milk Processors will meet after Easter to set March milk price. Bernard Condon, managing director of Ornua’s global ingredients division, warned that dairy markets were “very weak and very thin”.