China’s dairy imports look set for growth

Published 15 August 17

A tightening of domestic raw milk supplies could fuel higher Chinese imports for the remainder of 2017. Hot summer weather and a year of declining milk prices is expected to supress milk production in China. This, combined with relatively low stock levels, is likely to lead to higher import demand for the remainder of the year.

So far this year, China’s dairy imports have shown year on year volume growth for all products, with the exception of liquid milk. In total, imports are around 4% higher in terms of tonnage, even when accounting for the 55k tonnes drop in the volume of milk imports.

Whey powders and infant milk formula (IMF) contributed the most to the growth in imports, accounting for 33% and 30% respectively of the increased volumes. There has also been a significant rise in cheese purchases, amounting to over 13k tonnes, or 14% of the increased volumes

Imports of liquid milk products, the only category to see a drop in volumes, were down 20% compared to last year. This was almost exclusively due to reduced shipments from the EU-28, where slow recovery of milk production, combined with the need to rebuild cheese and butter stocks, will be limiting exportable supplies. Although New Zealand has increased shipments of milk to China over the period, these have only partly compensated for lost volumes from the EU.

China Dairy Imports