U.S. Exporters Ship Record Volumes
Capitalizing on steady global demand, faltering production from other suppliers and favorable pricing, U.S. dairy exporters shipped record volumes in the first half of 2013, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council.
U.S. exporters gained share against their major competitors as well: In the first half of 2013, U.S. exports of milk powder, cheese, butterfat and whey were up 9%, while New Zealand shipments were up 4%, Argentina was down 11%, the European Union (EU) was down 9% (January-May), and Australia was down 10% (January-May).
In the first half of the year, U.S. exports were valued at $3.17 billion, up 16% from a year ago. Second-quarter sales were up 28%.
Improvement in 2013 has been driven by gains in exports to Southeast Asia (skim milk powder or SMP, sweetened condensed milk and lactose); China (SMP and whey); and Algeria (SMP).
Exports were higher among all major product categories, and to virtually all major markets. The biggest difference between this year and last is the growth in sales of milk powder.
Cheese exports are maintaining a record pace in 2013, with year- to-date volume up 6% from 2012.
June butterfat exports had their best month in more than two years, with January-June exports up 12% vs. a year ago. Whey export volumes also continue to trend higher.
On a total-solids basis, exports were equivalent to 16.5% of U.S. milk production in June, slightly below the record mark hit in May. Meanwhile, imports as a percent of milk-solids production in June were 2.8%.