Since the start of the year, Mintec EU whey powder prices have slipped 7% by May while Mintec whey permeate powder prices have similarly declined by 7% over the same period.
The global demand for whey has been reduced by China’s African Swine Fever (ASF) crisis. Whey products are used in feed for young animals as a milk replacer for calves and lambs and are also used in the diet for weaned pigs. Less so, whey is used for breeding and fattening purposes. Whey products boost the gut integrity and animal health of young animals, while for piglets specifically, whey promotes feed intake in the immediate post-weaning period.
The spread of African Swine Fever in China and Southeast Asia has reduced pig herd populations dramatically. Rabobank analysts estimate that China will lose 150 to 200 million pigs to ASF this year. The decimation of pig populations in Asia has lowered global demand for pig feed products, including EU whey.
Behind cheese and SMP, whey products are the third most exported EU dairy product, and China is the EU’s top export market for whey powder by volume. EU whey exports to China have dropped significantly this year, with January to April exports reaching just over 57,500 tonnes, a 69% reduction from the 187,300 tonnes exported to China over the same period of last year.