FY ’12 dairy trade value is record high

The U.S. dairy trade story continues to be a bright one.

The value of U.S. dairy exports set a record high in fiscal year 2012 (October 2011-September 2012), at $5.271 billion, up 14% from FY ’11. FY ’ 12 dairy imports were also a record, up 10% from FY ’11, to $3.135 billion, but the resulting dairy value trade surplus was $2.136 billion, the largest ever.

At $403 million, the value of September 2012 U.S. dairy exports declined 7% from August and 4% from September 2011, but still surpassed $400 million for the 19th consecutive month. 

September exports were down about 5% by volume compared to August, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council. NDM/SMP shipments were lighter (-18% vs. August and -3% from the third quarter of 2011). Cheese, butterfat and dry whey fell for the fourth straight month since peaking in May, with cheese volume the lowest since last October, and dry whey and butterfat the lowest in more than three years (daily-average basis). 

Whey protein concentrate (WPC) exports were down slightly from August's record pace, but remain well above a year ago. WPC export volumes have doubled in the last three years, driven by tremendous growth from China and Southeast Asia. Lactose shipments continue to track year-ago levels.

September 2012 U.S. dairy exports were equivalent to 13.1% of U.S. milk solids production for the month, down from 14.2% in August. The September total brings the year-to-date percentage to 13.6%. Exports were equivalent to 13.3% of U.S. milk solids production in 2011 and 12.8% in 2010. Meanwhile, imports as a percent of milk solids production were just 3.0% in September, down from 3.2% in August.

At $247 million, the value of September 2012 imports was down 4% from August  2012, but 19% more than September 2011. At $97 million, September cheese imports were up 12% from August 2012 and up 14% from September 2011. FY ’12 cheese imports are estimated at $1.06 billion, unchanged from FY ’11.

Read also: Global Dairy Market Outlook

Sources: USDA Foreign Ag Service, U.S. Dairy Export Council