26 July 2021, EU: January – April 2021: the value of EU agri-food exports surpasses the value of the same period in 2020. On a year over year basis, EU food exports increased in January – April 2021, while EU imports decreased. The resulting agri-food trade surplus’ value stood at €22.7 billion – an increase of 17% compared to the corresponding period in 2020.
During the period from January to April 2021, EU agri-food trade (exports plus imports) reached a value of €103.4 billion; i.e. 1.1% less than in January – April 2020. While EU exports increased by 1.7% compared to the same period in 2020, reaching €63 billion, EU imports attained €40.3 billion, still 5.1% less than in the first four months of 2020.
The monthly value for EU exports in April 2021 were 7.7% lower than March 2021, but also 9.8% higher than April 2020. EU imports in value also were 2.5% lower in April 2021 compared to March 2021, but 3.7% higher than the value observed in April 2020.
On a year over year basis, for the period January-April 2021, EU agri-food export values fell most with respect to those towards the United Kingdom (minus €806 million, -6%), when compared with the same period in 2020. However, EU exports in value to the UK in April 2021 were 8.5% higher than in April 2020. Significant decreases in EU exports value for the first four months of the year mainly affected cigars and cigarettes (minus €126 million), pork meat (minus €121 million), and preparations of vegetables, fruits or nuts (minus €106 million). However, significant increase in EU export values were observed for bulbs, roots and live plants (plus €164 million), wines (plus €139 million), cut flowers and plants (plus €126 million).
The highest increases in the EU export values were recorded with respect to China (plus €912 million, +16%). This continued to be primarily driven by an increase in the EU exports in value of pork meat. EU export values to the United States have also increased by 7.1% (plus €488 million) compared to the same period in 2020 mainly driven by wine and spirits.
The main EU export destinations in the first four months of 2021 were the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Switzerland and the Russian Federation. 51% of EU agri-food exports went to these five countries.
Looking at agri-food imports over January-April 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, a significant fall in the value of EU imports from the United Kingdom continues to be observed (minus €1.844 million, -37%). A further decrease was also observed in the EU imports from the United States (minus €387 million, -10%). On the other hand, countries for which the EU import values increased the most over the first four months of 2021 include India, Brazil, Serbia, Australia and Argentina.
Looking at product categories over the first four months of 2021, the highest decreases in import values continued to be reported for tropical fruit, nuts and spices (minus €557 m, -12%), palm and palm kernel oil (minus €237 million, -12%). On the other hand, the EU imports value increased most for oilcakes (plus €630 million, +32%), soya beans (plus €476 million, +27%) cut flowers and plants (plus €70 million, +17%). The top EU agri-food import products in the first four months of 2021 included fruit (tropical and other than citrus), oilcakes, soybeans, unroasted coffee and tea. These products accounted for nearly 33% of EU agri-food imports.
During the period January-April 2021, the resulting agri-food trade surplus’ value stood at €22.7 billion, an increase of 17% compared to the period January-April 2020. This net trade balance continued to be driven by high exports of wine, spirits and liqueurs, pork meat, chocolate and confectionary, bulbs, roots and live plants.