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March 28, 2019

January Dairy Exports Decline for Third Consecutive Month

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

January’s 9% decline in dairy export volume marks the third consecutive month of lower volume. The good news, however, is that rising global prices means January sales value was actually up 4% from a year ago, reports the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).


Overall, U.S. exporters sent 151,851 tons of dairy products to off-shore buyers in January, worth $429.9 million. On a total milk solids basis, January exports were equivalent to just 12.5% of U.S. milk production, the lowest level on a volume basis in nearly three years, says Alan Levitt, USDEC vice president of communications and market analysis.


“U.S. dairy exports continue to struggle in the face of strong competition and retaliatory tariffs in China and Mexico,” he says. “Overall volume to China was down 41% from a year ago—including a 54% drop in whey shipments—while cheese exports to Mexico were off 20%.”


African Swine Fever continues to take its toll on Chinese pork production, and the disease (which the Chinese now claim is under control) could be responsible for lower whey exports. The Chinese use whey as a protein supplement in hog diets. Total when exports to China are the lowest in 35 months.


One bit of good news is that overall cheese exports were actually up 3% in January. “Lighter sales to Mexico were offset by record sales to Central America (mostly Guatemala) and increased shipments to South Korea (+29%) and Australia (+14%),” Levitt says.


You can read the full report here.