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Volume, Value of Dairy Exports Up In March

Jim Dickrell

May 6, 2020

Here’s a bit of good news for change: Both the volume and value of U.S. dairy exports were up in March over last year, the seventh straight month of positive growth.

It remains unclear what effect the COVID-19 pandemic will have on sales moving forward. The Mexican peso has been devalued some 20% since January. Even though the value of sales to Mexico were up in March, Mexico bought 19% less nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder in terms of volume. This was the largest volume drop of such sales since January 2018.

Globally, anecdotal reports show good April sales of cheese and butter because of low U.S. prices compared to world prices.

March U.S. export volume was up 2% to 190,456 metric tons, the highest level since May 2018. The value of March exports was $592 million, up 10% from a year ago and highest level in more than 5 years, reports the U.S. Dairy Export Council. In the first quarter of 2020, export value was up 15% from last year.

On a total milk solids basis, exports represented 15.1% of U.S. milk production in March, and 14.9% of milk production in the first quarter.

In terms of volume, most dry products were up: Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder was up 4%, whole milk powder, +164%; total whey, +7%; milk protein concentrates, +63%. Lactose volume was down 8%. Also down were cheese volumes, -10%, and butter, -27%.

On a country and region basis, the value of exports were:

                                                March 2020 value (millions)                        vs. year ago

Mexico                                                 $120.2                                                   + 8%

Southeast Asia                                      119.8                                                   +33%

Canada                                                     77.0                                                   +  4%

South Africa                                            36.2                                                   +37%

Middle East/No. Africa                         35.6                                                   +32%

South Korea                                            34.3                                                   -15%

China                                                        32.8                                                   -17%

Oceania                                                   26.9                                                   +16%

Japan                                                       26.8                                                   -  6%

Caribbean                                                24.9                                                   + 6%



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