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China: milk powder imports fall whereas cheese is on the rise

There has been a sharp drop in Chinese milk powder imports. In September of this year there was a significant drop in whole milk powder (-46.5%) compared to the same month in 2015, which ate into the positive performance of this year’s January-September period (+19.6% in volume and +7.1% in value), taking it into the negative. The decline in skimmed milk powder imports continues; the drop of 51.2% in September accentuated the decline in the January-September period by 7.7% in volume and 25.8% in value. Butter imports are also decreasing (-16.8%) but can in any case count on a positive trend from the start of the year through to September of 25.5%.

Imports of the following products increased sharply in September: whey powder by 25.1%, confirming the upward trend of this year’s January-September period (+16%) which remained considerably negative, however, in terms of value (-21.6%); milk and cream (+8.8%, +55.2% in the January-September period) and cheese, with a 7% increase in September and a substantial 27.7% increase in the first nine months of 2016. Moreover, cheese imports are growing in terms of value (+17.1%). The growth trend of infant formula was also slightly positive (+1% in volume).

Going back to the drop in milk powder, this year’s figures regarding whole milk powder are the most staggering as imports began with a stratospheric +52.3% in January before stabilising at more physiological quantities. The vast majority of the product arrives from New Zealand, followed at a considerable distance by Australia. Skimmed milk powder supplies are more varied; export countries include New Zealand, the main supplier of the Asian giant, the United States, Australia and, at more of a distance, France and Germany. Also in this case a peak in January (+43.2%) was followed by a physiological decrease which, here, led to decidedly negative result. Cheese imports, however, are still growing, and registered a peak last July of +36.6%. Also in this case it is New Zealand which dominates, followed by Australia, the United States, France and the smaller country of Denmark.