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OCEANIA OVERVIEW: Milk production patterns in Oceania are at seasonal low levels. The winter season is at hand in all areas, but spring, and the start of the new milk production season, is not far off. Producers and milk handlers are already looking forward to the new season with optimism. Moisture during the fall/winter season has or is occurring in most milk producing areas, although additional volumes are needed. Yearend milk production reports out of New Zealand and Australia are much the same as have been released during the season.

New Zealand is reporting a 2% gain over the 2001 - 2002 year, while Australia continues to project a 10% decline for the same period. Some projections for the new season are that New Zealand handlers anticipate gains in line with last season and the Australian outlook is 1 - 2% gains over the year just completed. Sales activity out of Oceania is limited as most activity is centering on shipments of previously placed orders. At this time, dairy product handlers still feel comfortable with their supplies in relationship to orders, with most indicating that they will have very minimal volumes, if any at all, to carry into the new year. Oceania handlers and traders are closely monitoring international political and monetary developments at this time and analyzing what impact these developments might or will have on new season product prices.

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