Dairy exports appear to be holding strong despite the decline in volume headed for China. Figures from the U.S. Dairy Export Council demonstrate solid numbers for dairy exports in July. Mexico was the largest importer of American dairy products, receiving nearly 48,000 tons of milk powders, cheese whey, lactose, and butterfat. While volume to Mexico increased 12 percent from a year ago, the value of dairy exports to Mexico increased 30 percent.
Overall, dairy exports to all markets have shown mixed results. While value increased ten percent over last July, volume declined by six percent. The increased tariffs with China have taken a toll on U.S. dairy exports into the country, with volume down 35 percent from last year and value down 16 percent. Lactose volume fell 20 percent from last year, and whey exports were off by 41 percent.
Other Asian markets also experienced varying levels of decline from a year ago. The market in Southeast Asia slowed down significantly after a strong start to the year, with dairy export values declining nine percent from July 2018. Volume also fell by 21 percent with fewer purchases made in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Export values to Japan and South Korea also declined substantially to the lowest level of the year. As the second and third-largest markets for American cheese, volume to South Korea dropped 40 percent, while exports to Japan fell by 15 percent.
Fortunately, some of that decline has been offset by strides made in other export markets in the Middle East, South America and North Africa. Exports to the Middle East and the North Africa region increased by 50 percent in volume and 56 percent in value for July 2019. The overall value of dairy exports to South America was also 37 percent higher than in 2018, with the majority of American dairy products going to Columbia, Peru, and Chile.