US January exports at an 18-month low

by | Mar 10, 2021 | Global, Volume trends

US exports were generally lower in January with lower sales of NFDM/SMP and cheese reflecting shipping delays and reduced demand from Mexico, while overall whey product sales continued strong YOY gains. Overall, exports in milk solids equivalents (MSE) fell 5% YOY in January with total value declined 9% YOY (or US$49.4m).

Exports of NFDM/SMP were 62,868t in January, 9.6% lower YOY, mostly reflecting weaker exports to SE Asia (-4,695t), and weaker sales to Japan and Mexico. Total whey product exports rose 15.1% YOY in January, mostly reflecting an increase of dry whey shipments (+16.6%). Exports of WPC80+ products were also higher (+3.7% YOY). With this, total whey product exports increased YOY for the 14th month in a row.

Total cheese exports fell 10% YOY in January, a difference of 2,762t. This negative trend certainly reflected higher average FOB shipped prices, with New Zealand at a US$500/t discount relative to the United States. The overall decline was despite stronger cheese exports in key markets such as Japan and South Korea which were more than offset by weaker sales into Mexico which had the lowest total since August 2011. Shipments of other dairy products in January were mixed, with positive trends for butterfat, WMP and fluid milk and cream, but negative trends for lactose, MPC, infant formula, casein and evaporated/condensed milk.

The US industry exported just 14% of milk production in January, down from 14.9% in the same month of 2020 and 14.1% in December.