WELLINGTON Dolphins Kenyan Drake Jersey , Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand dairy farmers are holding out for a critical upswing in global demand next year after milk prices hit their lowest point in almost two years, prompting warnings Wednesday about the sustainability of the country's economic recovery.

The price index on the Fonterra-run GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) dropped 8.4 percent to 3,025 U.S. dollars a tonne, down from 3,309 U.S. dollars three weeks ago Dolphins Xavien Howard Jersey , but sales were up from 36,656 tonnes to 48,380 tonnes.

The Federated Farmers industry group said the fall in prices for the country's biggest export commodity was expected, but prices seemed to be tracking forecasts towards an upturn.

"What will be critical is the expected market recovery in the New Year," Federated Farmers vice-chairperson Andrew Hoggard said in a statement.

"Memories seem to be short these days Dolphins Laremy Tunsil Jersey , but there are no lakes of milk powder or mountains of butter anywhere," he said.

"It is true that since the new season started on June 1, prices are down 21.3 percent, but that reflects a near perfect production season everywhere on earth."

The season seemed to be shadowing the 2012-2013 season, when prices averaged 3 Dolphins Raekwon McMillan Jersey ,127 U.S. dollars per tonne in the first half, but rose to 4,213 U.S. dollars in the second half.

"It is why we're not hitting the panic button just yet, especially when there were signs of life in the latest auction," said Hoggard.

"We saw more buyers and they bought more product so things are looking up Dolphins Jason Sanders Jersey , if not the price yet."

However, New Zealand's main opposition Labour Party said milk prices had collapsed by 41 percent since February, indicating "the short-lived economic recovery may have already ended" given the country's over-reliance on one industry.

"Given Goldman Sachs recently warned of a five-year 'global milk glut,' the payout price could drop even further in coming months," Labour leader David Cunliffe said in a statement.

Late last month Dolphins Jerome Baker Jersey , farmer-owned cooperative Fonterra, the world's biggest dairy exporter, announced a payout to farmers of 6 NZ dollars (5.06 U.S. dollars) per kilogram of milk solids, down from 8.40 NZ dollars (7.08 U.S. dollars) a kilogram the previous season.

The drop in payments would see total earnings by the country's dairy farmers fall by 4.3 billion NZ dollars (3.62 billion U.S. dollars), or the equivalent of 1.9 percent of gross domestic product Dolphins Mike Gesicki Jersey , the New Zealand Herald newspaper reported.

The payout came on top of other bad news for the agricultural sector, including interest rates rising by a full percentage point to 3.5 percent since March and the stubbornly overvalued New Zealand dollar.

Goldman Sachs reportedly forecast earlier this year that annual global dairy output would exceed demand by 2 billion liters through to 2018 -- a five-year glut that would depress prices.

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