U.S. companies sold record volumes of cheese to South Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, the Middle East/North Africa and Central America in March according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). In fact, the amount of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey products and lactose sold in March was the most in seven months.
The strong sales helped accomplish a 4% increase in the value of products sold year-over-year, while total volume was down 12% from what was a very strong March 2018.
Yet while the rest of the world is enjoying U.S. dairy products, China seems to be thumbing its nose. It’s not that China isn’t importing dairy products, USDEC reports Chinese imports of dairy goods is up 13% in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2018. But they’ve been buying from everywhere but the U.S.
“Since the tariffs when into effect in July 2018, U.S. dairy volume to China has fallen 43%, factoring in March’s dismal results,” the USDEC report states.
The epidemic that is the African swine fever has significantly reduced the Chinese sow herd, and therefore the amount of piglets that need lactose-based feed ingredients. This has had an impact on whey imports, and U.S. whey exports to China were just under 11,000 tons, down 52% with steep declines in sales of whey protein concentrate and modified whey products.
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