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First-quarter dairy product export volumes recover

First-quarter dairy product export volumes recover
U.S. dairy exports improved in the first quarter of 2013 after lagging in the second half of 2012, according to a monthly summary from the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). 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 Q4 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. Q1 cheese exports were up 7.5%; butterfat was up 17.9%; whey protein concentrate 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 – Q1 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.