As global markets improved in the second half of 2016 and Europe and Oceania saw milk production declines, Alan Levitt, vice president of communications and market analysis at the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), said U.S. dairy exporters boosted volume in a number of key products and markets. In the second half of the year through November, total U.S. dairy export volume was up 15% year over year.
During the latest five-month period, exports of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) were up 25%, exports of dry whey were up 36%, shipments of whey protein concentrate (WPC) were up 28% and sales of whey protein isolate were up 39%. Meanwhile, Levitt said cheese exports finally moved above year-ago levels in October; in the latest two months, U.S. cheese shipments were up 7%.
The most notable gains in the latest five-month period included:
- Exports of dry whey to China nearly tripled (up 25,000 tons), and shipments of WPC to China increased 32% (up 15,000 tons).
- Exports of NDM/SMP to Southeast Asia were up 68% (up 40,000 tons) versus the prior year, led by a surge in sales to the Philippines (up 16,726 tons) and Indonesia (up 15,178 tons). In addition, shipments to Vietnam and Malaysia increased 53% (up 10,445 tons).
- Exports of NDM/SMP to Mexico increased 11% (up 12,000 tons).
- Exports of WPC to Southeast Asia increased 43% (up 6,000 tons), led by Malaysia, while lactose shipments to the region increased 29% (up 9,000 tons).
- On the cheese side, shipments to South Korea have begun to climb modestly following a year-and-a-half slump. In the September-to-November period, U.S. cheese exports to South Korea were 10,994 tons, up 24% (up 2,113 tons) from the prior year.
- In October to November, U.S. cheese exports to Mexico were 16,205 tons, up 21% (up 2,859 tons) versus the prior year.
In recent months, U.S. suppliers also saw a relative jump in butter sales to Canada. In the September-to-November period, U.S. exports were 4,321 tons, more than four times the volume (up 3,254 tons) of the same period a year ago.
“Overall U.S. export value was $429 million in November, up 14% from a year earlier,” Levitt said. “U.S. dairy exporters shipped 168,706 tons of milk powders, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose in November, the most in 18 months and topping year-ago levels for the sixth straight month.”