August 6, 2018

Exports Extend Growth Curve

 |  By: Mike Opperman

Even with tariff and trade headwinds, U.S. dairy exports continue to grow. Total export volumes were up 16% from June 2017 and were the equivalent to 16.4% of U.S. production, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). 

The growth occurred despite tariffs being placed on dairy products going into Mexico and China, two of the largest customers of U.S. dairy products. On a volume basis, exports of whole milk powder nearly tripled compared to last year, while shipments of all other product categories, except modified whey, increased over June 2017 levels. According to USDEC, June 2018 was the eighth consecutive month of export growth. 

In terms of value, U.S. exports were worth $481 million in June, 4% more than a year ago. Dairy exports over the first six months of 2018 were up 5% over the same period in 2017. 

With regard to exports to Mexico and China, here are country-specific results:

Mexico: Nonfat dry milk and skim milk powder were up 11%; cheese was up by 43% and the second highest volume on record. Butterfat was up 184% on relatively low volume. Total exports were up 13%.

China: Whey was off 7% in June, below the prior-year level for the second consecutive month. Lactose shipments grew by 109%. Cheese exports to China were down 14%. Total exports were down 4%.

Even though exports represented 16.4% of U.S. milk production, that’s the second consecutive month of declining volume after a record-setting April, suggesting that while exports continue to grow, the pace may have slowed.