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FAO Outlook: Milk and Milk Products

25 June 2013

Trade is forecast to grow 1.9 per cent with Africa and Asia combining to take 70 per cent of the global dairy market, say analysts at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

International dairy products prices registered strong growth during the first four months of 2013, particularly in March and April. Although prices fell back in May, they remained at elevated levels, substantially above a year earlier. The main cause of the leap in prices was a steep fall-off in New Zealand’s milk production. The FAO Dairy Price Index reached 259 points in April, close to its historic peak in late 2007, before dropping to 250 points in May. The absence of substantial growth in milk output in the principal exporting countries implies that supplies to the international market will be finely balanced until at least the latter part of 2013, indicating that the current elevated prices are likely to remain for some months.

FAO International Dairy Price Index (2002-2004 = 100)

World milk production in 2013 is forecast to grow by 2.2 percent to 784 million tonnes – a similar rate to recent years. Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to account for most of the increase, with only limited growth elsewhere.

World trade in dairy products is expected to expand in 2013; however, supply limitations are anticipated to stem growth. Consequently, trade is forecast to increase by 1.9 percent, compared with an average of 7 percent in recent years, to reach 54.7 million tonnes of milk equivalent. Asia will remain the main market for dairy products, accounting for some 54 percent of world imports, followed by Africa, with 16 percent.

World Dairy Market at a Glance 1

June 2013

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