EU agri-food sector exports are rising sharply; less imports

A recent EU trade report on the agriculture and food sector shows that the EU trade surplus over 2023 has grown by almost twenty percent. The cumulative trade balance from January to September 2023 amounted to EUR 51 billion, which is EUR 8.5 billion higher compared to the same period in 2022.

The United Kingdom, the United States and China remain the three main destinations for EU agri-food exports. There has been a decline in imported oilseeds and protein crops, as well as vegetable crops, both in prices and volumes. Import declines in 2023 were notable from Brazil, Argentina, Australia, China and Indonesia.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), global prices for food commodities were ten percent lower last month than a year ago.

The FAO food price index tracks monthly changes in the prices of a range of globally traded food commodities and stood at 118.5 points last month, down one and a half percent from the previous month.

For 2023 as a whole, the index was 13.7% lower than the average value of the previous year.

The FAO grain price index rose 1.5%, while prices of wheat, corn, rice and rice barely rose, partly due to faltering exports from Ukraine and Russia.

The FAO meat price index fell by 1.8% compared to November, influenced by continued weak import demand for pork from Asia.

The FAO dairy price index rose by 1.6% in December compared to November, mainly due to higher price quotations for butter and cheese, supported by heavy purchasing in Western Europe in the run-up to Christmas. At the same time, strong global demand for whole milk powders caused prices to rise.