Record-breaking export performance for EU agri-food products

EU agri-food exports values for October 2018 were the highest ever recorded. Valued at €13.1 billion, total exports were 2.9% above the previous record set in March 2017. Import figures were also impressive, increasing by 5.0% (when compared to October 2017) and setting a record for the month of October. The monthly agri-food trade surplus stood at €3.0 billion – a 13% increase from October 2017, and the second biggest surplus on record. These are the main findings from the latest monthly trade report published by the European Commission.

The highest increases in monthly export values (October 2018 compared to October 2017) were recorded for the USA (up by €186 million) and Saudi Arabia (an increase of €86 million). However, there were significant falls in exports values to Turkey (decreasing by €111 million), Hong Kong (down €27 million) and Sudan (a fall of €23 million).

The record-breaking performance of EU export values month was fairly evenly distributed between sectors, with beverages and commodities showing the highest growth. Notable increases in exports were recorded for spirits and liqueurs (a gain of €167 million), other cereals (up by €93 million), wheat (a rise of €73 million) and wine and vermouth (which grew by €70 million).

Strong EU exports were partially matched by a rise in the value of imports, with significant increases compared to October 2017. Bilateral trade between the EU and the USA has continued to expand, with imports from the USA growing by €245 million. There was also significant growth in import levels from both China (growing by €80 million) and Russia (up by €71 million).

By sector, there was a rise in the import values of cocoa beans (growing by €98 million), other cereals (up €87 million) and oilcakes (increasing by €75 million), however imports of unroasted coffee and tea (down €75 million) and palm oil (a decrease of €54 million) both fell.