The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • May U.S. Dairy Export Volume Third-Highest Ever

    By Marc A.H. Beck July 9, 2018

    Volume up 18 percent from May 2017. On a total milk solids basis, exports were equivalent to 17.2 percent of U.S. milk production.  

    On a total volume basis, U.S. dairy exports were the third-highest ever. May 2018 exports were greater than levels every month before March 2018 when the U.S. began setting new highs. During May, shipments of butterfat and whole milk powder more than doubled while exports of all other major product categories, except cheese and fluid milk, grew double-digit percentages compared to levels in May 2017.

    Marketers shipped 199,852 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey products, and lactose during the month, up 18 percent from May 2017. U.S. exports were worth $512 million, up fractionally vs. a year ago. In the first five months of 2018, dairy exports totaled $2.423 billion, 5 percent more than the same period in 2017. 

    Exports of NFDM/SMP increased by 20 percent compared to one year earlier and totaled 70,461 tons. The largest gains came from Southeast Asia (+43 percent), Mexico (+14 percent) and Pakistan (+68 percent).

    (Official U.S. Bureau of Census data continues to show an increase in WMP exports to Mexico. However, Mexican import data and trade sources don’t corroborate this, and we believe this volume represents SMP sales that were misclassified at the port. Therefore, we’ve adjusted NDM/SMP and WMP trade data for June 2016 to May 2018 to account for this misclassification.)

    Lactose exports totaled 35,126 tons in May, 40 percent greater than levels in May 2017. Shipments to China (8,105 tons) and New Zealand (4,368 tons) drove the increase adding 75 percent and 65 percent, respectively.

    Cheese exports were 29,913 tons in May, 15 percent lower than the previous year. Sales to Mexico declined by 35 percent against last year's record high. Exports also decreased by 24 percent to Japan and were down 54 percent to Australia. These declines were partially offset by gains in South Korea (+12 percent) and the Middle East/North Africa region (+30 percent).

    Whey exports increased 19 percent and totaled 53,171 tons in May. Shipments increased to Southeast Asia (+77 percent) and Mexico (+48 percent).

    Butterfat exports totaled 3,955 tons, up 121 percent from the year before. Sales to Canada grew by 57 percent and totaled 1,238 tons. Shipments to Mexico added 134 percent and totaled 603 tons.

    On a total milk solids basis, U.S. exports were equivalent to 17.2 percent of U.S. milk production in May. Imports were equal to 3.3 percent.

    For more detailed trade data accompanied by tables and charts, download USDEC’s three-page (PDF) document below.




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

    Marc Beck is Middle East/North Africa business unit director for the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

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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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