Insights from the SGX-NZX Global Dairy Seminar 2023

Hayden Dillon
12 October 2023
4 min read

The SGX-NZX Global Dairy Seminar held in Singapore serves as the cornerstone of the dairy industry's global convergence. It provides a platform for industry leaders to come together, exchange perspectives, and keep on top of the latest market dynamics.

“For this year's seminar SGX Commodities, The New Zealand Exchange (NZX) & Global Dairy Trade (GDT) have collaborated to make a more impactful event, with the GDT Regional Conference taking place on the afternoon of 18 September before the 2023 SGX-NZX Global Dairy Seminar.” - Singapore Exchange Limited

Navigating the global dairy landscape

Against a backdrop of soft export commodity prices, in particular Dairy, there was a real interest in what insights could be provided at SGX-NZX to guide future thinking for the sector. It was pleasing to take away some reassurance that the long-term fundamentals for New Zealand's largest export sector are still more good than bad and leave with eyes wide open to the key considerations for future export growth.

Let’s explore some of the key highlights from the event:

China’s remarkable dairy growth

Chinese domestic dairy production has been on a remarkable upward trajectory. A notable example is Mengniu, which embarked on an ambitious endeavour by planting an astonishing 97 million trees, reclaiming 200 square kilometres of desert terrain, and supporting 110,000 cows to produce an impressive 600,000 tonnes of Organic Milk. While we were not provided with a precise definition of "Organic Milk,"

China’s changing landscape

China's GDP growth is expected to slow compared to historical rates, and the demographics look less appealing. But its demand for protein remains robust. Drawing a parallel with the Japanese urbanisation story, where daily dairy consumption per capita is more than twice as much. China still has a significant way to go with its urbanisation rate. This translates to a projected increase in Liquid Milk Equivalent (LME) consumption, forecasted to rise from 39 million metric tonnes in 2022 to an impressive 62 million metric tonnes by 2032.

China’s self-sufficiency goals

China aims to achieve approximately 70% self-sufficiency in milk production. Although they are currently on track to meet this target, there are concerns about their ability to sustain this growth due to limited resources, particularly land, water and supplementary feed. The exact extent of this challenge remains uncertain.

Global dairy trade

Despite China's efforts, it is expected that they will continue to run a substantial deficit in LME, estimated to be around 15 million metric tonnes by 2032. This implies a continued reliance on quality food imports from other regions Adding to this demand is Southeast Asia with an LME imports gap growing from 10 billion litres to 11 billion litres in 2023.

U.S dairy production

Keeping a watchful eye on the United States is crucial, as additional dairy production facilities are coming online. While this could impact global export values, the higher cost of production in the US, coupled with their focus on bioenergy, makes this a harder model to track. Their model of housing for cows facilitates methane capture, aligning with the cut-and-carry model. Noting any growth in USA production is likely to lead to an increase in cheese production (not WMP) as their 2–3-year plans for processing plants is centred around cheese production.

Dairy’s protein resilience

Dairy protein remains unmatched in terms of density and absorption, making it the protein of choice worldwide. Viable substitutes are still a distant prospect.


In summary, the global dairy industry continues to present a positive macroeconomic narrative, albeit with the expected volatility. The depth of the futures market provides suppliers (farmers) with increased options, making it essential to adopt robust hedging strategies. At Findex, we have actively assisted our clients in managing this volatility, with many exploring opportunities such as “puts”.

Key takeaway

As the dairy landscape evolves, staying informed and adaptable will be essential for all industry stakeholders. The SGX-NZX Global Dairy Seminar serves as a testament to the industry's resilience and its commitment to addressing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

If you’d like to explore how we can help you improve your agribusiness’s efficiencies, manage costs, and create sustainable growth, get in touch today.

Author: Hayden Dillon | Managing Partner - Agribusiness

Hayden is the Managing Partner for Waikato. Hayden’s background and experience provides him a unique perspective as an adviser, in developing strategies, managing risk, and identifying new opportunities for companies. This allows him to fulfill his passion of working with great people to build and grow businesses successfully. He holds various leadership roles in one of New Zealand’s largest economic regions being Waikato, and has strong banking, risk management and financial skills. This, coupled with extensive experience in agribusiness from the farm gate to developing international distribution channels means Hayden has a sound understanding of the role and responsibilities of value adding governance. Hayden has held key roles in corporate banking within the food and fibre sector of the Bank of New Zealand and National Australia Bank, as well as his involvement directly in the Australian milk processing industry. Hayden grew up on his families station in Central Otago, and has been involved in agribusiness throughout his career. Hayden is still involved in farming with his Bloodstock farm in Waikato. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture majoring in Farm Management and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment majoring in Treasury. He is a Fellow of the Financial Securities Institute of Australasia, a member of the IOD, and holds various directorships.