U.S. Dairy Cold Storage Update – Mar ’16
Executive Summary U.S. cold storage figures provided by USDA were recently updated with values spanning through Feb ’16. Highlights from the updated report include: • Butter stocks continued to increase seasonally while also remaining higher on a YOY basis, finishing 32.7% above the previous year’s level. • Cheese stocks also remained higher on a YOY basis, finishing up 11.2% to a new 31 year high. Additional Report Details Butter – Stocks Remain Significantly Higher on YOY Basis According to USDA, Feb ’16 U.S. butter stocks of 235.5 million pounds remained significantly higher on a YOY basis, finishing up 32.7%. Butter stocks increased by 39.4 million pounds, or 20.1%, from the previous month, which was greater than the ten year average January – February seasonal increase of 30.9 million pounds, or 19.9%. Feb ’16 butter stocks finished 20.2% above the three year average butter stocks for the month of February. U.S. butter stocks typically reach their seasonal peak in May, followed by seasonal drawdowns until lows are reached during the winter months. The most recent seasonal drawdown in butter stocks of 132.1 million pounds was 11.7% less than the previous three year average seasonal drawdown as weak export demand outweighed increases in domestic consumption. U.S. butterfat exports have declined YOY for 21 consecutive months through Jan ’16. Cheese – Stocks Remain Significantly Higher YOY, Reach a New 31 Year High Feb ’16 U.S. cheese stocks of 1.18 billion pounds finished up 0.3% MOM and 11.2% YOY to a new 31 year high. The monthly YOY increase in cheese stocks was the 16th experienced in a row. Cheese stocks have remained higher YOY in recent months as milk production has strengthened in Midwestern cheese producing states while weakness in cheese export markets has continued. Strong cheese production has been partially offset by continued strong domestic demand, however cheese exports remained lower YOY for the 16th consecutive month during Jan ’16. U.S. cheese stocks typically exhibit a smaller degree of MOM and YOY variation than U.S. butter stocks. Cheese stocks do not have as large of a seasonal build as butter stocks, with the five year average November – July seasonal build in cheese stocks representing a 12.7% increase in stocks vs. a 121.1% increase in butter stocks. The reduced seasonality exhibited in U.S. cheese stocks has led to less volatile YOY variation, with cheese stocks having a five year average absolute YOY change of 5.3% compared to 26.3% for U.S. butter stocks.