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NZ commodity prices snap four-month gain as aluminium, whole milk powder drop

New Zealand commodity prices snapped four months of gains as aluminium and whole milk powder fell, though a weaker kiwi dollar shielded local producers from the decline.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index fell 0.4 percent to 326.7 in November and have gained about 21 percent in the year. The index had been edging back toward its April record of 333.5 in the previous month.

Six of the 17 commodities tracked fell last month, seven rose and three were unchanged. Aluminium fell 4 percent to a four-year low, whole milk powder dropped 3 percent, butter was down 2 percent, kiwifruit fell 1 percent, and lumber and casein both fell 0.5 percent.

The price of pelts gained 5 percent to a 16-year high, while skim milk powder rose 3 percent, cheese was up 2 percent, lamb, beef and wool rose 1.5 percent, and logs gained 0.25 percent.

Seafood, wood pulp and apples were unchanged this month.

Local producers were shielded from the drop in world prices because the New Zealand dollar weakened against the greenback and British pound, while gaining versus the Australian dollar and the yen. The overall impact was that the ANZ NZD Commodity Price Index rose 0.4 percent, to be 6.9 percent below the record high it reached in March 2011.