Trends . . . †U.S.† DAIRY† TRADE† VALUES† SET† RECORD† HIGH† IN† 2013
Dairy exports continued to be the belle of the ball, reaching a new record high of $5.1 billion for calendar year 2013. LMIC aggregates dairy trade into seven export categories for value: live cattle, milk cream and powder, whey, natural milk products, butter, cheese and casein. Last year (2013) the sum of those exported products accounted for a $1.4 billion year-over-year increase, or up 39% compared to 2012ís. The largest percentage increase was in butter, which nearly doubled its trade value. The largest increase in dollars was in the milk, cream, and powder complex, increasing $866 million, or 58% above 2012ís. All export categories posted a year-over-year gains in terms of dollar value, and live dairy cattle was the only category not having double digit growth.
Imports also were higher, up 2% for the year. LMIC uses the same seven categories for both dairy imports and exports. In five out of seven categories, the dollar value of U.S. imports increased in 2013 compared to a year earlier. Milk, cream and powders, as well as natural milk products were each down 8%. Live cattle had the highest increase nearly doubling in value, but that is a small category that only accounts for $12 million dollars, or 1% of total imports. All said, imports rose to just over $2 billion falling slightly shy of the $2.1 billion record set in 2008.
Even with the growth of imports, the U.S. dairy industry continued to add to its net exporter status. Last year net exports value jumped to $3.1 billion, surpassing the previous record (set in 2011) by about $1.2 billion. Net exports were about 80% above 2012ís. Driving the increase in net export value in recent years has been growth in exports outpacing those of imports.
The most surprising change was in cheese products, which have only been a net export product since 2012. In 2012, cheese accounted only for $18 million, and surged to $210 million dollars in
2013. Cheese exports broke the $1 billion mark in 2012 and continued on that trajectory last year.† Natural milk products and casein continued to remain net import products by about half a billion dollars.† Strong growth in milk, cream and powder exports and a decline in imports contributed the most to the large growth in net exports.
Dairy exports continue to remain a bright spot for the industry contributing more-and-more to the total economic picture for the domestic value chain. Steady export growth in many products such as cheese appears to be a continuous trend, exports of other products are not as proven and could be more tenuous (i.e. milk powders). In the first half of 2014, U.S. dairy sector exports are forecast to remain strong, but growth rates could taper in the second half of the year unless overseas economic conditions outpace current forecasts.