EU's agriculture trade posts sharp increases in March 2021

After a slow start to 2021, EU agri-food trade reached a value of €75.8 billion between January and March, 4% less than the same period in 2020.
calendar icon 5 July 2021
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EU exports decreased by 0.9% compared to the corresponding period in 2020, reaching €46.4 billion. EU imports attained €29.3 billion, 8.1% less than in the first quarter of 2020. However, the value for EU exports in March 2021 rose by 20% compared to the previous month. Similarly, EU imports increased in value by 24% in March compared to the previous month.

For January-March 2021, the EU export values fell most to the United Kingdom (down by €1.079 billion), when compared with the same period in 2020. Significant decreases in the EU exports value affected the majority of agri-food products with pig meat (a decrease of €116 million), cigars and cigarettes (falling by €108 million) and meat preparations (down by €101 million) leading. Still, EU monthly exports have progressively increased since the end of the transition period. The value of EU exports to the UK were 27% higher in March 2021, compared to the previous month, and 1.3% higher than in March 2020.

Other destinations, for which the value of EU agri-food exports fell most since January 2021 compared to the same quarter last year, are Egypt (down €168 million), Japan (a decrease of €155 million), Russian Federation (fell by €145 million) and Saudi Arabia (down €136 million).

In January-March 2021, the EU export values to the United States have reached similar values to those observed in the same period in 2020, being slightly lower by €23 million. While exports have been negatively affected by drops in sales of soft drinks and waters (by €73 million), beer (down €61 million) and wine (fell by €51 million), increases in sales could be observed for pet food (up €36 million), soups and sauces (increase of €32 million) and olive oil (plus €32 million). Exports to the US in March 2021 were 33% higher than in February 2021 and 14% higher than in March 2020.

The highest increases in January-March 2021 in the EU export values were recorded for China (increased by €914 million). This continued to be primarily driven by an increase in the EU exports in value of pig meat (up by €360 million), coarse grains (plus €185 million) and rapeseed and sunflower oils (an added €161 million). Switzerland follows with EU exports increasing by €169 million. Other destinations for which the value of EU agri-food exports increased most in the first quarter of 2021 is Norway (an extra 140 million), Chile (up €87 million) and Libya (up by €82 million).

In terms of product categories, significant reductions in value in January-March 2021 were recorded for exports of wheat (down by €668 million), infant food (a decrease of €278 million), preparations of vegetables and fruit (fall of €117 million), poultry meat (down €112 million) and fresh and chilled vegetables (a decrease of €95 million). On the other hand, the highest increases were noted for exports of pig meat (up €308 million), rapeseed and sunflower oils (increased by €284 million), wine (plus €155 million), raw hides, skins and furskins (an increase of €154 million), and cut flowers and plants (up €129 million).

As regards import values, the largest decreases were reported for tropical fruit, nuts and spices (down by €500 million), palm and palm kernel oil (fell by €273 million), spirits and liqueurs (a drop of €194 million). On the other hand, the EU imports value increased most for oilcakes (up €480 million), soya beans (increased by €274 million) and roasted coffee and tea (plus €27 million).

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