Strong U.S. Exports Persist in 2023
Record-high U.S. dairy exports in 2022 continued into the first month of the new year. In January, U.S. exporters sent 466.1 million pounds of dairy products abroad, 13.2% more than in the same month last year. January exports, the highest ever for any January, roared past the prior record set in 2020 by more than 27 million pounds. Robust shipments to Mexico boosted total volumes. Exporters sent 125 million pounds of product across the U.S. southern border, a dramatic increase of 49.8% compared to last year, bestowing Mexico with a 26.8% share of U.S. exports in January. Exports to China were also up year over year by a substantial 19.7%.
Cheese exports in January were the highest ever for the month, totaling 75 million pounds, an increase of 15.6% vs. January 2022, due especially to increased demand from Mexico, Japan, and Australia. Meanwhile, cheese exports to South Korea, the second largest destination for U.S. cheese, fell by 7.8%. Whey exports were up 11.9% year over year on strong Chinese demand, but at 94.7 million pounds, whey exports failed to best 2021’s and 2018’s larger volumes. Nonfat dry milk (NDM) exports surged 14.8% to 150.4 million pounds, and butter exports slipped 3.7% to 7.5 million pounds.
In its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates released today, USDA reduced its export expectations for this year’s corn crop by 75 million bushels while holding other elements of the crop balance sheet steady. The resulting increase in ending stocks contributed to a dime decrease in the average farm price for corn, which now sits at $6.60/bu. Meanwhile, an increase of 25 million bushels in estimated soybean exports and a modest reduction in crushing expectations lifted the average soybean meal price by $15 to $465/ton. On the international side of the ledger, persistent drought in Argentina led USDA to slash the country’s corn production estimate by 7 million metric tons.
March 8, 2023