U.S. Dairy Exports Set February Records
April 7, 2021
Strong international demand for U.S. dairy products continued to support exports in February. U.S. exporters shipped $557.8 million worth of dairy products in February, the highest value for the month since 2014 and an 11.1% increase vs. the same month last year, after adjusting for leap day. Even as logistical concerns persisted, U.S. exporters were able to capitalize on internationally competitive prices and favorable currency dynamics in February to increase shipments.
China’s insatiable appetite helped push whey exports to the highest volume ever for February. At 106.9 million pounds, February’s U.S. whey exports rose by 30.5% year over year after accounting for the extra day in 2020. Whey exports to China also set a February record, and at 53.6 million pounds registered the second highest monthly value ever. Increased exports were seen across all whey categories, with dry whey, whey protein concentrate, and permeate logging year- over-year increases of 26.3%, 30.3%, and 63%, respectively. Global demand has been keeping whey supplies tight and supporting domestic prices.
Nonfat dry milk (NDM) also boasted a record-setting February. NDM exports for the month totaled 157.8 million pounds, the largest February volume ever. Shipments to Mexico perked up, with both prior-month and prior-year comparisons higher. However, sustained growth to Southeast Asia was the real driver behind February’s overall 36.1% gain in year-over-year NDM exports. Despite the well-publicized container shortage, U.S. exports of NDM to Vietnam jumped to 17.2 million pounds, nearly twice the volume exported last February and the largest amount ever exported to that country in a single month.
Highly competitive prices also helped fuel U.S. butter exports in February. Butter exports climbed to 7.6 million pounds, the highest monthly value since mid-2014 and a 120.4% year-over-year increase. Cheese exports of 66.5 million pounds were up a modest 1.1% year over year. Going forward, export demand could play a key role in helping to work through burdensome stocks of both these products.