Australia loses third spot on dairy exporter list

Posted by Isobel Drake on 1st October 2009

The United States has surpassed Australia to emerge as the number three dairy exporter in the world after Europe and New Zealand, according to Rabobank analysis.

Rabobank has released the World Dairy Map examining international dairy trade flows, milk production figures, export destinations, consumption and processor consolidation, with Europe remaining the biggest consumer.

U.S. overtakes Australia
In dairy exports, the United States made gains and moved up from fourth place last year as weather conditions hampered Australian production.

“Australian drought conditions over the past few years affected milk production. In 2008, dairy export focus weakened in Australia providing space for the U.S. to move into the third spot,” Rabobank dairy analyst Mark Voorbergen advised.

While becoming a sizeable exporter, the U.S. also remains a large destination market for imports. They represent the main destination for casein trade, while New Zealand is the main supplier of casein into the U.S.

“Milk producers in exporting regions are interested in knowing where their milk is being sold, while processors will surely be interested in levels of processor consolidation and consumption figures of different dairy products in the main markets of the world,” Mr Voorbergen explained. “Traders, on the other hand, will undoubtedly use the (world dairy) map to gauge their share of all individual trade flows.”

Venezuelan import market grows
In a surprising development, Venezuela is shown to be one of the leading dairy importers in the world, claiming the number two position just behind Russia.

“Hugo Chavez, the country’s president, is a great advocate of social programmes aimed at feeding the population,” Mr Voorbergen suggested. “With stocks of milk powder building up in the country, 2009 imports have been less impressive, but this will likely be a temporary dip, as the massive imports have done a lot of damage to the local Venezuelan producers.”

As long as the political situation remains unchanged and the oil revenues used to finance the programmes keep coming in, the country will remain a favoured export destination for milk powder.

Europe dominates consumption charts
European countries are still riding high in per capita consumption charts in various dairy products. Western Europe’s lead in consumption levels is insurmountable, leaving Eastern European countries with only the possibility of moving closer to, but not reaching the levels seen in Western Europe.