Agriculture: EU agri-food trade shows strong growth in first two months of the year

The latest EU agri-food trade figures published today (May 31, 2022) show that the total value of EU agri-food trade was EUR 28.3 billion in February 2022, an 18 % increase compared to the same month last year. Exports rose by 11% to EUR 16.6 billion, while imports grew by 30 % to reach EUR 11.7 billion, reflecting a trade balance of EUR 4.9 billion. This marks an increase of 52 % compared to January 2022 and a break from the trend of lower exports and higher imports that had been seen since autumn 2021.

In the first two months of 2022, exports to the United Kingdom and the United States grew significantly compared to the same period last year. Exports to the UK increased by 23 % (driven by wine, poultry and eggs) to reach a value of EUR 6.6 billion.

Exports to the US grew by 26 % to EUR 4 billion, largely driven by increased demand for beverages. In the first two months of this year agri-food imports from the UK grew by 75 % to reach a total value of EUR 2.1 billion. This was largely driven by increased imports of spirits and liqueurs, the value of which increased by 105 %. Imports from Brazil also saw a sizeable increase (up 62 %), with soya beans and meals imports contributing strongly to this growth.

Imports from the US and China also increased by 18 % and 65 % respectively during this period.

On the other hand, exports to China – the EU’s third agri-food export destination – fell sharply in the first two months of the year, decreasing by EUR 836 million or 28 %. This was primarily caused by an EUR 856 million reduction in exports of pigmeat to the country year on year (a fall of 66 %), and imports from Canada decreased more than any other country, falling by 22% or EUR 126 million.

Prior to Russia’s military aggression, imports from Ukraine had grown more than those from any other country in the first two months of the year (up 96 % year on year). Regarding specific products, cereal preparations and milling products, dairy products, and wine and wine-based products were the main export categories in January and February. This is in line with what was seen in the same period last year. More information on the latest EU agri-food trade figures is available here and on EU agri-food trade in general here.