The start of 2021 saw a decline in agri-food trade, with EU exports decreasing by 11% in January 2021 compared to January 2020, reaching a total value of €13.5 billion.

Imports attained a value of €9.1 billion, 16% less than in January 2020. This decrease comes after a longer period of continuous increase in exports.

This led to an agri-food trade surplus for January 2021 standing at €4.4 billion, an increase of 3.6% compared to January 2020.

These are amongst the main findings outlined in the monthly trade report for January 2021, published today (Thursday, May 6) by the European Commission.

Falls in agri-food export values

EU exports to the UK declined in value by €792 million compared to January 2020. 

Falls were also recorded in export values to the USA (a decline of €254 million); Russia (a drop of €110 million); Japan (a decrease of €66 million); and Saudi Arabia (down by €62 million).

On the other hand, the value of exports to China rose by €146 million, driven by growing demand for pigmeat and coarse grains, as well as rapeseed and sunflower oils.

Increased export values were also recorded in relation to Chile (up by €29 million); Pakistan (up €24 million); and Norway (up €24 million).

Agri-food imports

Agri-food imports from the UK dropped by €874 million compared to January 2020.

Further drops were recorded in the values of imports from Argentina (down by €126 million); the US (down €88 million); and Indonesia (down €83 million).

However, values increased for imports from Malaysia (by €25 million); India (€21 million); Brazil (€14 million); and Nigeria (€13 million).

In terms of product categories, the value of pet food exports grew by €17 million, with rises also recorded for rapeseed and sunflower oils (a rise of €15 million); citrus fruit (an increase of €11 million); oil cakes (up €8 million); and cocoa paste and powder (up by €7 million).

January 2021 saw declines for EU exports of product categories such as wine (a decrease of €188 million); infant food (down by €142 million); preparations of vegetables and fruit (down €89 million); and chocolate and confectionary (down €79 million).

As for import values, the largest decreases were recorded for tropical fruit (a drop of €270 million); palm and palm kernel oil (a decline of €129 million); and spirits and liqueurs (a fall of €102 million).

The highest increases were reported for soya beans (a rise of €139 million); rapeseed and sunflower oils (a growth of €36 million); and oil cakes (up by €35 million).