Cheese exports established a new record for the third month in a row.
U.S. exports picked up in 2014 where they left off in 2013, says the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).
U.S. suppliers shipped 162,999 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose in January, up 19% from last year, and about the same volume as the last four months of 2013. Total value of all exports was $583.7 million, up 35% from a year ago.
Cheese exports topped 32,000 tons for the first time, establishing a new record for the third month in a row, according to USDEC. Sales to existing customers remained strong in January, while new sales were captured in Australia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt.
U.S. exporters also ramped up shipments of butterfat (+150% vs. last January), whole milk powder (+314%) and milk protein concentrate (+110%).
On the other hand, exports of dry whey and whey protein concentrate (WPC) continue to lag prior-year levels. WPC exports in January were the lowest in nearly two years.
Exports of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) – 38,761 tons – were higher than the diminished levels of last January, but well below the levels registered in the last nine months of 2013 (average 49,849 tons/month).
In addition, NDM/SMP exports in January represented just 43% of U.S. powder production for the month, leading to greater-than-average build-up of inventory.
The slowdown in NDM/SMP exports is attributed to greater competition, particularly from the EU-28, which saw a milk production increase of 4.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013.