Dairy Report: Virus Impact on Milk Prices and Dairy Trade

The Dairy Report 031720
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). ( Photo courtesy CDC; Source Unsplash )

Despite high demand at the grocery stores due to the coronavirus, milk prices have fallen in the last few weeks and analysts expect those price declines to continue, at least in the short term.

The World Trade Organization has repeatedly warned the virus would likely cause trade disruption, but has it?

Our partners at Milk Business report dairy exports posted a record month in January. And while it's unclear how exports faired last month it's likely the virus will have an impact. U.S. Dairy Export Council CEO Tom Vilsack saying the virus presents export challenges and also opportunities. He says the opportunity is for diversification in the market including the potential to ship product to Mexico or South America and possibly Kenya in the future if the country can get a trade deal there.

  And the National Milk Producers Federation releasing a statement on the virus's potential impact on domestic and international Markets saying quote, "From possible damages to domestic and world markets, to supply chain labor disruptions on the farm, at the processing plant or in transporting milk, the potential ramifications for dairy are wide-ranging. We will devote our resources to the best of our ability to helping dairy farmers and cooperatives respond to whatever challenges they may face.”

The statement going on to say the U.S. dairy supply is safe and that there is *no evidence this strain of coronavirus is present in domestic livestock.