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U.S. Dairy Export Volume Up 28% in June

U.S. dairy exports in June were up 28% by volume and 22% by value, capping a first half of double-digit growth. This year’s gains have been all the more impressive in that they were achieved during one of the most disrupted dairy trade environments in history.

In June, U.S. suppliers shipped 206,411 tons of milk powders, cheese, whey products, lactose and butterfat, the most (on a daily-average basis) since April 2018. The value of all exports was $583.7 million.

On a total milk solids basis, U.S. exports were equivalent to 17.7% of U.S. milk solids production in June, the highest rate since April 2018. In the first half of the year, exports were 15.8% of production, up from 14.1% in the first half of 2019.

Headline highlights in June included record cheese exports, continued robust sales of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP), ongoing recovery of whey sales, and record shipments of fluid milk/cream. Overall volume gains vs. a year ago came from Southeast Asia, China and the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, plus a welcome improvement in sales to Mexico.

Cheese exports in June were 38,427 tons, 29% more than last year and the most ever. Much of this volume represents deals booked in April and May when U.S. cheese prices were at historic lows. The unit value of shipments was just $3900/ton, the second lowest over the last nine years.

Mexico came back to buy the most cheese in two years, posting a 62% gain compared with a year ago. Sales to South Korea also were strong, up 56%, and shipments to China more than doubled.

Exports of NDM/SMP topped 75,000 tons for the second straight month, coming in at 75,831 tons in June, up 77% from a year ago. Sales to Southeast Asia were lower than the previous two months, but still more than double the June 2019 volume. Growth came from Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. Meanwhile, Mexico made its largest purchases in eight months, posting a 13% gain vs. a year ago. Mexico buying was encouraging, on the heels of a 21% decline in the first five months of 2020.

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