December exports from the US were a mixed bag. SMP shipments were 4.3% lower in the month, and the lowest monthly trade since Feb-2020. There was a 25% jump in shipments to SE Asia, giving a 4th quarter increase of 7%.
Cheese exports remained strong – 20% higher in the month taking 4th quarter trade 35% above the comparative, and pushing the annual tonnage past 400,000t. Shipments to Mexico remained the big driver of the increases in overall cheese trade, 45% better in the final month of 2021, and 17% up for the 4th quarter. Trade with Mexico was 13% stronger in 2021. Central America continues the steady achiever, lifting 25% in the month and by more than a third in the final quarter.
The dry whey trade continued to weaken, with the lowest monthly shipments, also since Feb-2020, down 26% in the month, 12% in the 4th quarter, due to the slump in Chinese trade, where there was a 52% fall in the month. High prices might be slowing the WPC80 train, as trade slowed 9% in the month and was 14% weaker in the 4th quarter.