Whey powder.
November 5, 2018

Milk Powder Exports Offset Cheese Losses in September

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Despite tariffs on cheese sales to Mexico and China, U.S. export volumes climbed 8% over a year ago in September, reports the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Total U.S. dairy exports in September were valued at $435.2 million, up 4% over last year.


During the first three quarters of 2018, the volume of U.S. exports was up 16% while the value of those exports, at $4.25 billion, was up 4%.


The biggest news is that the volume of non-fat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) shot up significantly in September, climbing some 30% over a year ago. Mexico increased its imports 40% while sales to Southeast Asia (primarily the Philippines and Indonesia) more than doubled. “This year, U.S. suppliers have exported more than two-thirds of the NDM/SMP they’ve produced,” reports Alan Levitt, USDEC Vice President, Communications and Market Analysis. “Over the previous five years, 56% of NDM/SMP production was sold overseas.”


Milk protein concentrate exports also were up in September, nearly doubling last year’s sales. “MPC sales to Mexico were the most in nearly a decade,” says Levitt.


That good news was tempered by the decline in cheese exports, down 9%, for a 20-month low. Cheese shipments to Mexico were off 10%; to Australia, 36%; to China, 63%; Japan, 22%, and to the Middle East/North Africa region, -35%. Southeast Asia did report almost doubling their cheese imports, however, and South Korea was up 18%.


Whey exports also declined 6%, “with a significant drop-off in sales to China where newly implemented tariffs are having an impact,” says Levitt. In the first half of 2018, China accounted for 42% of U.S. whey exports. In the third quarter, that dropped to 31%. And in September, China’s whey imports were down 38%, the lowest level in nearly three years.


For the complete report on September dairy exports, click here.