U.S. dairy exports (milk solids equivalent, or MSE) grew 1% in April, setting a new volume record for the month. While the increase was modest, it marked the first year-over-year MSE gain of 2022 and built on a very strong March performance.
April was only the fifth time U.S. dairy exports topped 200,000 MT MSE—the others being March 2022 and March-May 2021. The past two months are encouraging, given that they came in the face of ongoing supply chain challenges, COVID lockdowns depressing Chinese demand, and rampant global inflation.
Year-over-year U.S. export value soared 22% to $845.6 million, second only to March 2022 for highest monthly U.S. export value.
Cheese continues to be the U.S. export star in 2022. After shipping a record 41,693 MT of cheese in March, U.S. suppliers repeated the performance in April with 41,375 MT in exports. It was the first time the United States ever exported more than 40,000 MT in two consecutive months.
Central America led growth in April (+40%, +1,189 MT) but volume gains were geographically widespread. April U.S. cheese shipments to Mexico rose 8% (+785 MT); exports to the Caribbean soared 56% (+763 MT); volume to Japan jumped 17% (+738 MT); and exports to the Middle East/North Africa rose 18% (+421 MT).
The gains were more than enough to offset year-over-year shortfalls to Australia, Korea, China and South America.
New U.S. cheddar capacity is helping to fuel the gains. Year-over-year U.S. cheddar exports more than doubled in April to 9,231 MT, with a big portion destined for Japan (likely for further processing). April U.S. cheddar shipments to Japan soared 271% to 3,409 MT.
International cheddar prices continue to favor U.S.-origin product. Even with this week’s dip in Global Dairy Trade cheddar prices and even with CME block cheddar sitting $2.28/lb. (US$5,026/MT) as of Tuesday, U.S. cheddar continues to enjoy a significant price advantage over competitors, suggesting further solid numbers could be in the offing.
Source: U.S. Dairy Export Council