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COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS


April 26, 2018

 

EU agri-food exports down in February; wheat leads drop

 

 

Wheat exports dropped the most (-EUR114 million), even as the monthly value of EU agri-food exports in February decreased slightly to almost EUR10.5 billion.

 

EU's February imports of agri-food products also decreased, though more slightly than exports, to EUR8.7 billion. Thus, the monthly trade balance increased to a surplus of EUR1.7 billion, compared with a surplus of EUR1.3 billion in February 2017, according to a report from the European Commission.

 

Highest increases in February export values compared with February 2017 were recorded for Turkey (+63), Brazil (+19) and Singapore (+19). Monthly export decreases were recorded for the US (-60), South Africa (-41), United Arab Emirates (-40) and Switzerland (-39).


The value of February EU agri-food imports compared with February 2017 increased most for imports from Malaysia and Tunisia, while the value of imports from the US, Brazil and Indonesia went down most.
 

For the 12-months period from March 2017 to February 2018, EU agri-food exports reached a value of EUR138 billion, which is a sustained increase of 4.1% in value terms compared with the previous period.


Milk powder exports performed very well over the last 12 months, increasing by 21% or EUR751 million.

 

Biggest export drop in value

 

On the other hand, wheat and pork exports experienced the biggest drop in value terms on an annual basis (-26% or -EUR1.3 billion and -7% or -EUR387 million, respectively). 

 

Major gains in annual values have been achieved in agri-food exports to the US (+4% or +EUR0.9 billion), Russia (+13% or +EUR0.7 billion) and several Asian markets: Japan (+10% or +EUR0.6 billion), Hong Kong (+8% or +EUR0.3 billion), China (+3% or +EUR0.3 billion) and the Philippines (+26% or +EUR0.3 billion).

 

Further annual increases were recorded in agri-food exports to Turkey (+18% or +EUR0.6 billion) and Ukraine (+18% or +EUR0.3 billion), while increases of more than EUR0.2 billion also took place in exports to Korea, Nigeria, Australia, Serbia, Singapore and Switzerland in the last 12-month period.

 

Annual export values remained down for North African and Middle East destinations, particularly Saudi Arabia (-12% or -EUR0.5 billion), Vietnam (-22% or -EUR0.3 billion), Egypt (-20% or -EUR0.3 billion), the United Arab Emirates (-10% or -EUR0.3 billion), Algeria (-8% or -EUR0.2 billion) and Libya (-17% or -EUR0.2 billion). Agri-food exports to Morocco and Tunisia also went down over the last 12-month period.

 

Agri-food imports from third countries in the 12-month period between March 2017 and February 2018 totalled EUR116.7 billion, an increase of 2.5% compared with the previous period. However, because of the stronger export performance over the 12-month period, the export surplus now stands at EUR21.3 billion (+14% or +EUR2.6 billion).

 

One of the highest increases in import values over the last 12 months were recorded for cereals (excluding wheat and rice) at 40% or EUR916 million. However, import values decreased for soya beans (-12% or -EUR659 million).


The EU's main sources of agri-food imports over the past 12 months were Brazil (EUR11.8 billion), the US (EUR10.6 billion) and Ukraine (EUR 5.6 billion), followed by Argentina, China, Indonesia, Switzerland and Turkey, each accounting for between EUR4.5 billion and EUR5.5 billion.

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