Thursday, October 18, 2018
 Dairy World Markets and Trade Forecast  

Chinese imports of whole milk powder (WMP) are forecast to reach a staggering 400,000 tons in 2011- a 260 percent increase over the span of 2 years - easily eclipsing all other major importing markets. This growth is being fueled by several factors; an expanding population experiencing a steady rise in disposable income, tight domestic supplies, and food safety concerns over local milk production. China’s need for imported WMP is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Chinese imports of skim milk powder (SMP) have also been growing at an impressive 22 percent annual rate over the past 5 years (2005-2009) and are forecast to reach 100,000 tons in 2011.

The implications for global dairy markets are significant. For 2011, exports of WMP from New Zealand and Argentina are expected to increase, but not sufficiently to offset the forecast decrease in EU-27 WMP exports and the expected rise in Chinese imports. Consequently, WMP prices are likely to remain relatively buoyant which will encourage increased exports from Argentina. High WMP may also provide support for prices of cheese and butter. Whether SMP prices will benefit remains to be seen; however, import demand from some key Asian countries is expected to grow which casts a positive outlook for exports of U.S. SMP.

SMP – Export prices softened in November but have since stabilized and a firmer tone is evident. Steadier prices have brought buyers back into the market to contract for 2011 needs. Buyers are becoming more concerned about 2011 supply. European exports have been heavy this year – up 89% through September. In addition, demand for feedgrade SMP has been good. An Algerian tender for SMP and WMP will mostly be filled by European suppliers, tightening the market.

Oceania production is mostly contracted ahead, leaving little spot supply available. Prices weakened slightly at the last Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction. The weighted average price on December 1, was $3,060/ton, down about 1% from the mid-November event. The auction drew $2,899 for February delivery, $3,151 for March-May and $3,487 for June-August. Higher prices in later delivery periods reflect concern that drought will result in product shortages in 2011.

Buttermilk powder traded for an average of $3,034, down about 2% from mid-November.

The U.S. powder market is steady. U.S. NDM/SMP production is growing – October output was 60,255 tons, up 29% from a year ago. Output is increasing seasonally, but suppliers have been aggressive in moving product to keep inventories from building.

Export business remains active. Stocks fell 36% in August, September and October to 56,168 tons heading into November. In the first 10 months of the year, U.S. NDM/SMP exports were 316,358 tons, up 48% from a year earlier. In October, U.S. exports were 49,652 tons, the most ever for a single month.


Dairy Product Prices

(dollars / metric ton; F.O.B. ship)

-- early December 2010  --






Change from

a month ago


Change from

 a month ago

Skim Milk Powder

2700 – 2900


2800 - 3100


Whole Milk Powder

3400 – 3700


3400 – 3700


Cheddar Cheese

4250 – 4500


3950 – 4250


Dry Whey

1900 – 1000

No change

1000 – 1200


WPC (34%)



2400 – 2550





1900 – 1100



WMP –  About one-third of October’s shipments went to China. EU exports have picked up as well. Output is higher as a result of stronger milk production, but stocks are relatively balanced. An Algerian tender for SMP and WMP will mostly be filled by European suppliers, tightening the market. Europe could capitalize if lack of supply from Oceania forces buyers elsewhere. Futures prices are inching higher on NZX’s board. Settlement prices for the first five months of 2011 range from $3650 (January) to $3750 (March). More than 200 contracts have traded since the contracts were launched this fall. Prices on the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auctions have been relatively steady over the last three months. At the Dec. 1 event, the weighted-average price was $3,556/ton, up about 1% from early September. Winning bids for the nearby (February) contract were $3,518; contract 2 (March-May) was $3,608 and contract 3 (June-August) was $3,518.

Dry Whey – Global whey prices are firm and  exports remain active. The EU whey market is stronger, with little supply available. Likewise, little product is available from Oceania.  The U.S. dry whey market is steady. Spot supplies are tight with longer lead times needed to fill orders. Dry whey production in October was just 35,848 tons, down 3% from last year. For the year, dry whey production is running 10% below the 2007 level. Commercial stocks fell in August, September and October. On Oct. 31, holdings were 18,809 tons, up 5% from the year before. Exports of dry sweet whey remain heavy. In January-October, shipments were 208,838 tons, up 25% from the prior year.

Whey Protein Concentrate – WPC prices are higher. Prices for U.S.-sourced WPC-34 are steady, with prices at a two-and-a-half year peak. Spot supply is tight and inventories are down. At the end of October, manufacturers’ inventories of WPC were 13,424 tons, 17% below a year ago. Exports remain active; in the first 10 months of the year, U.S. exports of WPC and modified whey products were 150,296 tons, up 49% from last year. In the January-October period, production of WPC 50-89 was up 17%, while output of WPC 25-50 was down 8%.

Lactose – Oceania prices are unchanged from the last month. The U.S. lactose market is steady. Spot supplies are light. Current demand is good and buyers are contracting for 2011 needs. Production and inventories remain heavy. In the first nine months of the year, production was up 23% from the prior year. Export demand has been strong. In the January-October period, lactose exports were 222,604 tons, up 22%. Still, inventories have continued to grow. On Oct. 31, manufacturers’ stocks were 37,066 tons, up 52% from the year before.

Source: USDA

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 (Archive on Wednesday, December 29, 2010)
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