U.S. dairy exports in March nearly matched the record high of 2021, as total exports on a milk solids equivalent (MSE) basis decreased by less than 1%, a drop of only 2,005 metric tons (MT) MSE, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).
The strong performance of cheese (up 13%, up 4,773 MT), particularly cheddar (up 86%, up 3,596 MT), is a positive signal to the market, highlighting global consumers’ growing consumption of U.S.-made cheese, the group added.
Additionally, a recovery in low-protein whey exports (up 1%, up 320 MT) after three straight underwhelming months is the most bullish March indicator for future performance. But given the importance of China to the whey market, USDEC said the country’s recent lockdowns and corresponding fallout regarding supply chains are likely to cause whey exports to fluctuate significantly in the short term.
“More broadly, several short-term factors – constrained milk supplies, strong domestic demand early in the year limiting export availability, logistics frustration, and high prices slowing some global demand growth among lower-income consumers – have and continue to act as short-term headwinds to U.S. dairy export volume meeting or exceeding 2021 records,” the group relayed.
Export value, on the other hand, continued to soar in March and looks poised to build off the success of 2021 as a result of the tight global market and increased U.S. shipments of higher-value products like cheese, butter and protein concentrates. Export value in March jumped 25% (up $172 million) to $860 million, the highest month on record by a considerable margin.
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