March 18 (Reuters) - International milk prices dropped in a third consecutive auction held by New Zealand's Fonterra Co-operative Group, the world's biggest dairy exporter, while volumes also fell.
Fonterra's GDT Price Index, formerly the Global Dairy Trade-Trade Weighted Index, dropped 5.2 percent, with an average selling price of $4,563 per tonne, in the auction held on Tuesday.
The decline followed a 4 percent fall at the previous sale, said Fonterra, which is known for brands such as Anchor, Anlene and Fresh n' Fruity.
A total of 39,008 tonnes was sold, down 5.1 percent from the previous auction, the co-operative said on its website (www.globaldairytrade.info).
The auctions are held twice a month, with the next one scheduled for April 1.
The auction results can affect the New Zealand dollar , because the dairy sector generates more than 7 percent of the country's gross domestic product.
Fonterra, which is owned by about 10,500 farmers, controls nearly a third of the world dairy trade. (Reporting by NR Sethuraman in Bangalore; editing by Jane Baird)