UK dairy trade balance

Updated 2 October 2019

How do UK imports and exports compare for key dairy products? This information shows the net trade position for dairy products in both value and volume terms on an annual basis.  

Overview

  • The UK has a trade deficit for all its key dairy products, with the exception of milk powders.
  • For most products, growth in export volumes in the past year was matched or surpassed by higher imports.
  • There was a further reduction of the trade deficit in butter, driven both by lower imports and higher exports.
  • Milk powders saw higher export growth, improving the net trade position in 2018.
  • In value terms, the trade deficit has increased. While the value of exports grew, there was a larger increase in the value of imports.
  • Cheese accounted for the vast majority of the increase in import value, driving up the deficit. 

Additional information

The trade balance is calculated as exports minus imports.

Total dairy imports and exports (All dairy) includes dairy products which are not reported here.  The total will therefore differ from from the sum of the reported categories.

UK fat and protein trade balance

Updated 8 April 2019

The UK dairy trade balance differs by product, each of which use a different amount of the fats and proteins available from milk production. The tables below show the trade balance for the UK in terms of fat and protein on an annual basis. 

Overview

  • In 2018, from a fat perspective the UK was 87% self-sufficient, whereas for protein the self-sufficiency level was 89%.
  • In both cases, cheese imports are the biggest contributor to the lack of self-sufficiency. In fact, without the net imports of ‘Other cheeses’, the UK would be self-sufficient in protein, and only 2% short of fat.
  • As we move towards a potentially new trading landscape, how dairy products inter-relate will become even more important. Understanding how a change in trading conditions for one product will have potential knock-on implications for another, can help us determine how prices may move. After all, the value of each component will ultimately set the value of raw milk in the country.

Additional information

The net trade balance is exports minus imports, based on the typical butterfat and protein levels in products traded in the year.

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UK dairy trade balance