Q2 dairy trade review: mixed bag for exports and imports

Thursday, 24 August 2023

Key trends

  • Total UK dairy export volume for Q2 2023 was up 7.1% on Q2 2022 at 335.7 Kt.
  • Total UK dairy import volume for Q2 2023 was down 14.2% on Q2 2023 at 293.9 Kt.
  • Powdered and condensed milk exports increased significantly by 42.0% to 48,648 t.
  • Domestic availability, prices, demand, margins, production, inflation are key factors in influencing trade flow.

Exports on the uptick

Export volumes of dairy products from the UK have increased in the second quarter of 2023 year-on-year. Total export volume for Q2 2023 was 336,000 t, an increase of 22,300 t from Q2 2022. The level of EU exports increased by 10,900 t while that to non-EU destinations increased by 11,400 t.

Powdered and condensed milk products saw the largest year-on-year increase, up by 14,400 t (42.0%). This was driven by exports to both EU and non-EU nations. Exports of butter and other dairy fats increased by 27% to 16,400 t. Milk and cream and cheese and curd exports noticed a marginal increase of 2.6% and 0.2% respectively during the period. Whey and whey products and yoghurt bucked the trend recording lower exports of 11,700 t (-6.3%) and 11,400 t (-0.5%) respectively.

In the export basket, EU nations constitute nearly 90% of the total exports. Countries including Ireland, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Poland and Germany are the major recipients. In Q2 2023, exports to Belgium increased by 38% to 12,700 t on Q2 2022. Exports to France increased by 12% to 11,500 t and that to Ireland increased by a meagre 2% to 223,600 t compared to Q2 2022.

  UK dairy exports graph

Imports on the decline

Total import volumes are down over 48,700 t (-14%) at 293,900 t in Q2 2023. Imports from EU nations declined by 47,100 t (-14%) on Q2 2022. Imports from non-EU nations declined by a meagre 1,600 t.

Imports of yogurt and buttermilk volumes declined by -36% to 56,500 t in Q2 2023 year-on-year. Imports of milk and cream, and butter and other dairy fats declined by -16.0% and -14.5% to 81,600 t and 11,900 t on Q2 2022. Whey and whey products noticed a marginal decline of 3.0% during the period. Powdered and condensed milk and cheese and curd were an exception to the basket, with imports increasing by 1,000 t (4.6%) and 700 t (0.7%).

Imports from EU nations declined by 13.9% to 293,100 t in Q2 2023. Belgium noticed the maximum decline of -56% to 16,700 t in Q2 2023 compared to the same period previous year. Imports from France and Ireland declined by -24% and -9% at 36,600 t and 117,200 t respectively. With comfortable supplies in the domestic market and weak consumer demand amid higher inflation, imports are expected to be lower in the near-term.

UK dairy imports graph



Image of staff member Soumya Behera

Soumya Behera

Senior Analyst (Dairy)

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