April 6, 2018


EU cheese exports in January follow up 2017 rise



EU cheese exports increased 2% year-on-year in January 2018, following an upward trend in cheese price in 2017 due to demand. 


According to the European Commission's short-term outlook report for EU agricultural markets in 2018 and 2019, a further 4% growth in exports is expected this year, driven by Asian markets.


The report said the EU cheese price recovered in 2017 and the annual average price of cheddar recorded a year-on-year increase of almost 20 % (EUR3,390 per tonne) after three years of continuous decline.


EU exports in 2017 rose 4% in volume to 830,000 tonnes and 10% in value. The EU kept its dominant position on the US market despite a 1 % drop in EU exports to this destination compared with 2016.


The most promising growing markets are in Asia, the report noted. In China, between 2013 and 2017, the share of EU exports grew by 5 percentage points (15 % share in 2017) and the volume shipped to China increased almost 250%. The decision of Chinese authorities to cut some import tariffs on consumer goods, including some cheeses, may fuel further increase in EU cheese exports.


The domestic market, driven by the use of cheese in processed products, likewise continued its increasing trend in 2017, as per capita cheese consumption reached 18.1 kilogramme (+1.4 %).


Consumption in the EU-N13, or the new EU member states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) is still significantly below that of other member states, but it increased at a faster pace (+5 %) to 14.8 kg last year. Cheese use is expected to grow steadily this year and in 2019.


Because of the demand, EU cheese production is expected to increase 2% this year. In 2019, the lower growth in milk collection may lead to a smaller increase of cheese production, the report said.-Rick Alberto