December 7, 2017

Exports Down from 2016

 |  By: Mike Opperman

In recent months exports of nonfat dry milk (NDM) and skim milk powder (SMP) have been unable to match last year's record pace, adding an anchor to overall trade numbers according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). Shipments of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose was down 11% in October versus last year. Total U.S. dairy export values were down 1%.

Exports of NDM and SMP were down 34% compared to last year. Mexico and the Philippines were largely to blame - export volumes this October to both countries were barely half the amount shipped at this time last year. Shipments to other countries in Southeast Asia were also off, amounting to a 33% drop for the region, according to USDEC. 

On the bright side, powder shipments to China continue to increase with 2017 volumes twice that of 2016.

As powder exports slow down, inventories grow. At the end of October, USDEC reports that powder stocks were at a record high 149,000 tons, double the five-year average for that date. And it's not just the U.S. - global oversupply has pushed prices near 14-year lows. 

In other products:

  • Cheese: While exports have declined, they are still higher than 2016. October was up 9% with record sales to China and Central America. October exports to Mexico were the lowest in nearly 4 years, down 30% year-over-year.
  • Whey: Exports have reached all-time high values. Total whey exports were up 9% in October. 
  • Butterfat: Up 13% in October. 
  • Lactose: Exports are steady month-to-month, with October down 4% from last year.
  • Fluid milk/cream: Down 26% in October, with a steep fall off in sales to Canada. 

On a total milk solids basis, USDEC says exports were equivalent to 15.2% of U.S. production in October, while imports were equivalent to 3.5% of production. Year to date, exports have represented 14.3% of milk solids output. 

To view interactive charts of export data, visit the USDEC website