March dairy product exports set recordPrint
At $484 million, the value of March 2012 U.S. dairy exports set a new monthly record high, topping $400 million for the 13th consecutive month. March exports were up 11% from February 2012 and up 15% from March 2011.
At $258 million, March 2012 imports were up 5% from February 2012, but down about 7% from March 2011.
Year-to-date fiscal year (FY) 2012 (October 2011-March 2012) exports were estimated at $2.626 billion, up 24% from the same period a year earlier. FY ’12 imports were estimated at $1.589 billion, up 9%. The FY ’12 dairy trade surplus stands at $1.037 billion.
FY ’12 U.S. dairy trade
Exports Imports Difference
Month $ million $ million $ million
Mar. ’12 484 258 +226
Feb. ’12 437 245 +192
Jan. ’12 426 255 +171
Dec. ’11 430 273 +157
Nov. ’11 438 309 +129
Oct. ’11 411 249 +162
YTD total 2,626 1,589 +1,037
Source: USDA Economic Research Service
Dairy product export volumes also strong
In addition to value, U.S. dairy export volumes improved in March, boosted by continued strong sales of cheese, high-value whey proteins and lactose, according to the U.S. dairy Export Council (USDEC). In the first quarter of 2012, U.S. exports of dry ingredients (milk powder, whey, lactose), cheese and butterfat were 405,843 tons, up 2% from the previous year.
• Nonfat dry milk/slim milk powder exports slipped in March, decreasing 7% from February volume (on a daily-average basis). In the first quarter, sales to Mexico were up 46% from the prior year, and exports to th Middle East/North Africa improved as well, but shipments to Southeast Asia were off 32%.
• Whey exports improved in March, with total volume up 19% from February (daily-average basis). Strong gains in WPC and WPI offset declines in shipments of dry whey. China remains the major customer, with first quarter purchases up 5% vs. the prior year. In addition, exports to Mexico were up 43%.
• U.S. cheese exports registered a record high in March. In the first quarter, shipments to Mexico were up 6% vs. prior year, while Japan (+28%) and Saudi Arabia (+71%) posted strong gains. However, shipments to South Korea dropped 13%.
• Butterfat export volumes improved in March to a nine-month high. In the first quarter, three-quarters of the volume went to the Middle East/North Africa region.