Until this month, Chinese demand has been subdued over the last year, according to commodities analyst Mintec, after New Zealand’s largest export market ended 2014 with 300,000 in surplus stocks.
This, combined with a slowdown in China’s economy, led the country to receive 250,000 tonnes less of whole milk powder in 2015.
Now, with stocks estimated at 90,000 tonnes—down 18% year on year—China has begun to increase whole milk powder imports from New Zealand as it sets out to replenish levels.
Its overall imports have increased by 25% year on year over the first three months of 2016, to 204,000 tonnes, with the majority from New Zealand.
Increased export demand and lower supply has resulted in a rise in New Zealand prices for the commodity.