Value of Irish dairy exports to the UK drops 10% in 2016

A decline of over 10% was recorded in the value of Irish dairy exports in 2016 to the UK at an estimated €840m, according to Bord Bia’s Export Performance and Prospects report for 2016-2017.

With in the region of a quarter of total Irish dairy exports going to the UK, it remains a key market for Irish dairy produce.

Declines in cheese, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and whole milk powder (WMP) were somewhat offset by steady trade in butter, it found.

The Bord Bia report said that the value of trade was affected by the weaker Sterling relative to the euro.

For 2016, Bord Bia estimates that the value of Irish dairy and ingredient exports increased by around 2% to €3.38 billion.

Dairy exports to other EU markets were also lower in 2016, at €880m, totalling for 26% of total trade, figures show.

Decreases in shipments, which Bord Bia largely attributes to lower values of dairy commodity prices, to:

  • The Netherlands.
  • Germany.
  • France.
  • Italy

Meanwhile, the value of exports to international markets was a success story for the dairy sector last year, with growth of 19% in value to €1.66 billion.

This accounted for 49% of total exports compared to just 41% in 2015.

Of the international markets, Asia led the way with a 31% growth in exports to account for over 23% of total dairy exports, the report found, while higher trade was also recorded to Africa and North America.

Looking to 2017 and Bord Bia expects the prospects for Irish dairy exports in the early part of the year look relatively positive.

Steady demand growth aided by recovering oil prices and an anticipated slowdown in production in key exporting regions should continue to help the trade, the Export Performance and Prospects report found.

In this context, a 2% rise in demand for dairy products in the Middle East and North Africa is anticipated next year.

However, it also warns that as a high proportion of Ireland’s exports go to markets that trade in Sterling and US Dollars, exchange rate fluctuations will have a large bearing on returns in the sector.