Dairy exports to China by New Zealand competitor the United States were down 47 per cent in October due to retaliatory trade tariffs.

But US dairy exports to other countries were up 14 per cent in October, the latest month for which figures are available, with large gains in sales to southeast Asia and Mexico, said the US Dairy Export Council.

US sales to China of wholemilk powder, New Zealand's main dairy export, were down 97 per cent between July and October, compared with the same period in 2017, the council said.

China imposed additional tariffs on US imports from July. The dip in wholemilk powder sales to China equalled 1288 tons per month over the four months.

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However, total US wholemilk powder exports had doubled this year, said the council.

US exports were on track for a record year despite flat sales on both a volume and value basis in October due to the sales loss to China.

On a total milk-solids basis, US exports equalled 15.3 per cent of US milk production in October. In the year-to-date, exports were 16.3 per cent of production, said the council.

The US calendar record was 15.3 per cent in 2013.

In other US export product sale categories in July to October,skim milk powder sales to China were down 54 per cent at 1333 tons per month, why exports dipped 36 per cent (6909 tons/month) and cheese exports fell 56 per cent (752 tons/month).

Exports to Mexico and southeast Asia, mostly Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia, were up 25 per cent and 29 per cent in October on a value basis, mostly on the strength of improved sales of skim-milk powder and non-fat dry milk, said the council.