China plays a part in stronger dairy sales
Dairy prices on international markets have continued to improve on the back of stronger sales and increased economic growth in developing countries.
China has been a key player in the recovery of dairy prices this year, according to Peter Duggan of Bord Bia.
Mr Duggan said reports by the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) showed that China has been the main driver behind growth in the world dairy market for the first quarter of this year.
USDEC suggest that China will continue to be actively buying whole milk powder, cheese and other dairy products to service its booming foodservice sector.
"Growth in dairy demand should spread to southeast Asia, as major new infant formula and beverage manufacturing capacity came on stream late last year. Elsewhere demand is expected to rise in the Middle East," Mr Duggan said.
Falling milk production has helped support dairy price recovery. Rabobank figures show that EU production for February was 1.3pc back on 2009 levels. Production in Argentina was back 11pc for March, while Australia was back 3.9pc for February.
New Zealand's output for 2009/10 is unlikely to match the previous season's output, despite an increase in national cow numbers. Output in the US was back 0.6pc for March but is showing signs of edging up.