The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • December 2015 NDM/SMP Exports Jump 36%

    By Alan Levitt February 8, 2016

    Despite the gain in NDM/SMP volume for the month, challenging market conditions continued to impact overall sales. 

    U.S. nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) set a record for December 2015 export volume—46,199 tons—a 36 percent gain compared to the previous year. The increase capped a record year for U.S. NDM/SMP shipments, as volume (559,735 tons) exceeded last year’s all-time high by 3 percent. (For more on full-year U.S. dairy export performance, see Friday’s U.S. Dairy Exporter blog post, U.S. Dairy Exports End Five-Year Growth Streak.)


    More than 60 percent of December NDM/SMP sales growth came from Mexico, but Peru also contributed with shipments hitting a record 4,311 tons, beating the previous record of 2,370 tons set in November 2015.

    Despite the gain in NDM/SMP volume for the month, challenging market conditions continued to impact overall sales. Aggregate dairy shipments of major products—milk powders, cheese, lactose, whey protein and butterfat—fell 3 percent from year-ago levels during the month.

    December cheese exports of 24,787 tons were down 9 percent from the prior year, as significant gains in the Middle East/North Africa, Australia and Central America—the 3rd, 4th and 5th largest U.S. markets respectively—were unable to offset slower buying out of Mexico, South Korea and Japan (the top three).


    Whey product shipments totaled 31,782 tons—the fourth smallest monthly volume in four years and 20 percent below December 2014. Dry whey, WPC and WPI all registered double-digit declines in December vs. the previous year, led by a 40 percent drop in shipments to China, the top U.S. whey buyer.

    December lactose fell 3 percent as orders slowed from Southeast Asia, China and New Zealand.

    Also down, butterfat exports came in 51 percent below year-ago levels with shipments to Iran, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey nonexistent for the third consecutive month. During 2015, U.S. suppliers shipped 8,966 tons butterfat to the Middle East/North Africa. Contrast this with 2014 and 2013 when shipments to the region totaled 43,829 tons and 58,063 tons, respectively.

    Including all products, December U.S. dairy export value totaled $384 million, down 20 percent from the previous year. For the calendar year, U.S. value reached $5.241 billion, nearly $2 billion dollars less than the record of $7.1 billion established in 2014. In terms of annual comparisons, 2012 (when dairy export value registered $5.123 billion) is the most similar.

    While total export dollars declined 26 percent during 2015, much of the declines were due to price deflation. On a volume basis, aggregate exports of major products were just 8 percent less than one year ago.

    On a total milk solids basis, U.S. exports were equivalent to 12.8 percent of U.S. milk production in December and imports were equivalent to 3.8 percent of production. During all of 2015, exports totaled 14 percent of U.S. milk production and imports equated to 3.6 percent.


    To use interactive charts with current and historical trade data, see's page on U.S. export data.

    To download a printable pdf summary of the December trade data, click here.

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    The U.S. Dairy Export Council fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. USDEC is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff. How to republish this post.  


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