New Zealand exports of major dairy products fell in March, led by milk powders and butter. WMP exports to China & HK remained weak, down 31% in March, and falling sharply since the start of 2022, reflecting higher local manufacture of product and lockdowns causing much weaker internal market consumption. WMP exports for the month fell 8.1% YOY to 120,779t and tracked 14% lower for the June to March period.
SMP exports were 39,457t in March, down 2% YOY (or 799t) with Northern Africa accounting for most of that fall. The 32% overall increase in SMP shipped volumes in the last 6 months reflected changes in product mix and improved exportable surplus, despite tight milk supplies.
Reflecting improved import demand from China & HK, cheese exports have improved since August, with March shipments just 0.1% ahead of the prior year comparable at 37,644t. Cheese shipments to China & HK were up 14.7% YOY in March to 10,498t. Butter exports fell YOY for the first time since June 2022 – down 7.8%, with a sharp decline in exports to China & HK. In contrast, AMF was up 19% YOY, reflecting stronger import demand in Mexico and North America. Overall fat shipments were up 2.5% YOY for the month on a commercial butter equivalent basis.