U.S. dairy exports were significantly higher in March, with milk powder, whey protein concentrate, cheese, butterfat and lactose all posting gains compared with year-ago levels. Total BICO dairy exports in March were valued at $290.9 million, 71 percent higher than last year's level, according to trade data released by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service May 12.
This is the highest figure (on a daily-average basis) since September 2008. In the first quarter of the year, exports were valued at $735.0 million, up 46 percent.
Exports of NDM/SMP jumped in March. Suppliers shipped 25,599 tons, up 63 percent from a year ago, says USDA/FAS. In the first quarter, U.S. exports of NDM/SMP were 54,034 tons, up 7 percent. In the January-March period, shipments to Mexico were up 14 percent and exports to the Philippines were up 19 percent. In addition, new sales were seen in China and the Middle East.
Exports of whey proteins were in line with the levels seen over the last six months. Dry sweet whey exports were 19,233 tons, down 5 percent from March 2009. Exports of whey protein concentrate were 15,184 tons, up 26 percent. Shipments of whey protein isolate were 1,601 tons, down 2 percent. Total whey protein exports were up 6 percent from the prior year. Year-to-date, U.S. exports of whey proteins were 105,588 tons, up 29 percent, led by gains of 78 percent in shipments to Southeast Asia and 34 percent in sales to China. In addition, exports to Mexico were up 23 percent.
Cheese exports in March were a record-high 13,433 tons, up 70 percent from March 2009. In the January-March period, U.S. exports of cheese were 32,860 tons, up 33 percent. In the first quarter, sales to Japan (+125 percent), South Korea (+43 percent) and the Middle East (+61 percent) were considerably higher. Exports to Mexico, our largest market, were down 4 percent from a year ago.
U.S. suppliers exported 19,703 tons of lactose in March, up 14 percent from last year. Year-to-date, U.S. exports of lactose were 53,647 tons, up 19 percent. Leading customers were Southeast Asia, Japan, China, Mexico and New Zealand.
Butterfat exports in March were 4,132 tons, more than triple (+204 percent) last year's volume. Year-to-date, U.S. exports of butterfat were 9,439 tons, up 83 percent. In the first quarter, about a third of our sales went to the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia the largest buyer. Russia, Egypt and Morocco all made purchases after making none last year.
Among other key products:
Fluid milk: March +101 percent; YTD +20 percent
Food preps: March -14 percent; YTD -8 percent
Whole milk powder: March +139 percent; YTD +121 percent
Ice cream: March +9 percent; YTD +5 percent
In the first quarter, exports (by value) were up to nearly all destinations compared with the prior year. Shipments to Mexico, our largest market, were up 28 percent, and large gains also were posted in exports to Southeast Asia (+93 percent), China (+98 percent), the Caribbean (+69 percent), Japan (+36 percent), the Middle East (+59 percent) and South Korea (+60 percent).
In the first quarter of the year, U.S. exports were equivalent to 26 percent of the NDM/SMP produced, 62 percent of the whey proteins, 58 percent of the lactose, 2.9 percent of the cheese and 4.7 percent of the butter.