November dairy export volumes, values a little lower

November dairy trade value dips

The value of U.S. dairy product exports weakened slightly in November, falling below $400 million for the first time in 21 months, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). (The U.S. Dairy Export Council reported just over $400 million in November U.S. sales.)

Estimated at $398 million by ERS, exports were down 4% from October 2012 and about 9% less than November 2011. Year-to-date (Y-T-D, January-November 2012) exports are estimated at $4.801 billion, up 8% from the same period last year.

At $300 million, the value of November 2012 imports was up 15% from October 2012, but 3% less than November 2011. Y-T-D imports are estimated at $2.863 billion, up 10% from January-November 2011.

The 2012 dairy trade surplus stands at $1.94 billion, compared to $1.78 billion a year earlier.

At $130 million, November cheese imports were up 42% from October 2012 and up 12% from November 2011. Y-T-D 2012 cheese imports are estimated at $958 million, down 2% from the year before.


‘Total solids’ dairy trade

November 2012 dairy product exports were equivalent to 12.1% of U.S. milk solids production, the lowest percentage since March 2010. In the previous 30 months, exports represented 13.5% of U.S. milk solids production. Meanwhile, imports as a percent of milk solids production were 3.7% in November 2012. 

Source: U.S. Dairy Export Council, National Milk Producers Federation.


U.S. export volumes lighter in November

November trade data indicates a rougher month for U.S. exporters, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Overall volume was the lowest in more than two years (since July 2010), coming in 13% below a year ago. November U.S. dairy exports were down 25% by volume and 20% by value since the peak levels achieved in May. 

Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder exports were below 30,000 tons (29,479 tons) for the first time since April 2010, down 21% from last year. Year-to-date, sales to Mexico were up 14% from the prior year, while exports to Southeast Asia were off 31%. Shipments to the Middle East/North Africa more than doubled.

November cheese exports were below year-earlier levels, and down about one-third from the peak levels of earlier this year. Year-to- date, shipments to Mexico were up 37% vs. prior year, while Japan (+21%), South Korea (+10%) and Canada (+29%) also posted solid gains.

Whey protein concentrate exports have pulled back, with shipments down 10% from last year and down 30% from the peak level reached in August. Overall November whey exports were down 12% from last year. China remains the major customer for U.S. whey products

Butterfat fell back after an encouraging increase in October. This year more than three-quarters of the volume has gone to the Middle East/North Africa region (primarily Saudi Arabia), while sales to Mexico and Canada have dropped off.

Lactose exports remained steady. Exports of fluid milk/cream were down 29% in the first 11 months of 2012.