Pricing relationships improved for U.S. suppliers in February as product availability from Oceania was constrained by drought.
Source: U.S. Dairy Export Council
U.S. dairy exports improved in the first quarter of 2013 after lagging in the second half of 2012.
Pricing relationships began to improve for U.S. suppliers in February as product availability from Oceania was constrained by drought.
U.S. export volumes of dry ingredients (milk powder, whey products, lactose), cheese and butterfat topped 412,000 tons in Q1, up 11.3% from the fourth quarter of 2012, and up 1.6% from a year ago.
Total value was $1.38 billion, up 12.2% from the fourth quarter, and up 3.1% from last year.
Cheese, butter, WPC and lactose shipments exceeded prior-year levels. Cheese exports in the first
quarter were up 7.5%, butterfat was up 17.9%, WPC was up 23.3% and lactose was up 6.9%. In addition, fluid milk/cream (+50.9%) and ice cream (+72.2%) posted very strong increases in the first quarter.
NDM/SMP exports remain below a year ago – first-quarter sales were off 10.0% – but March volume was the most since last August. Exports were 39,288 tons, equivalent to nearly 45% of production for the month.
Dry whey exports also continue to lag. First-quarter volumes were just 52,839 tons, down 8.3% from a year ago. Interest has shifted toward higher-value WPCs and WPIs instead.
On a total-solids basis, exports were equivalent to 13.1% of U.S. milk production in the quarter. Meanwhile, imports as a percent of milk-solids production were 3.3%.
U.S. dairy exports in March were valued at $499.7 million, just below the record of $500.0 million reached in May 2012. Aggregate export volume of dry ingredients (milk powder, whey products and lactose), cheese and butterfat was 145,546 tons, about the same as February on a daily-average basis. In the first quarter of 2013, the largest sales gains (compared with a year ago) came from Oceania, Canada and South Korea.