U.S. dairy exporters focused on the Western Hemisphere in November, helping to offset a continued slowdown in shipments to Asia, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s monthly report.

A look at U.S. Dairy Export Council numbers:

November exports to Mexico were up 15% from last year, and shipments to South America topped $30 million for the first time, led by gains in sales to Peru, Brazil and Colombia. Sales to the Caribbean were the most in 18 months.

• Meanwhile, exports to Southeast Asia and China were the lowest since early 2013, and shipments to the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region were down 66% from a year ago.

• In all, exporters shipped 147,879 tons of milk powders, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose in November, down 7% from a year ago, but down just 1% from October (on a daily-average basis).

• Total exports were valued at $500.5 million in November, down 14% from last year, and about the same as October (daily-average). That brought year-to-date U.S. sales to $6.63 billion, up 9% vs. 2013.

• Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) exports were 42,614 tons, down 7% vs. last November, but an improvement over the tonnage shipped in August and September. More than half the sales went to Mexico, which took 75% more than a year ago. However, sales to Southeast Asia were just 10,048 tons, a two-year low, and exports to China and MENA were just a fraction of the prior year’s volumes.

Cheese exports fell for the fifth straight month, dropping to 24,536 tons, down 13% from last year. Mexico was the top market for U.S. cheese in November, purchasing 5,825 tons, ahead of the 4,948 tons that went to South Korea.

• Exports of sweet dry whey continue to lag. November volume was down 17% from a year ago and the lowest in nearly two years. This contrasts with shipments of WPC, which were up 11% from last year, and WPI exports, which were up 40%.

Butterfat exports improved from recent months, but at 2,749 tons were still down 77% from a year earlier. Mexico was the largest customer, followed by Iran.

 

U.S. dairy exports as a percent of production

 

Nov.

Nov.

Jan.-Nov.

Jan.-Nov.

Item

2014

2013

2014

2013

NDM/SMP

54%

64%

54%

58%

Total cheese

5.7%

6.8%

7.2%

6.2%

Butterfat

4.5%

14.0%

9.0%

10.4%

Dry sweet whey

52%

60%

59%

55%

Lactose

62%

59%

65%

74%

Total milk solids

NA

15.5%

NA

15.6%