EU agri-food exports to third countries last year reached a record value of €129 billion, an increase of 6% on 2014, according to a new report published today. It confirms that export values in 10 out of the 12 months exceeded the value in the same month the previous year. Major gains were made in exports to the USA (+18.5%) and China (+39%), which has overtaken Russia as the second export destination for EU products. Cereals (+€1.2 billion), wines (+€835 million), and spirits (+€641 million) were the 3 sectors which made the largest improvement. At the same time, the Russian ban on the import of certain agricultural product was apparent in the lower value of export of milk powders and cheese (-€963 million taken together) and fresh fruit (-€341 million). With EU agri-food imports also increasing to €113 billion - an 8.7% increase on 2014 - the 2015 trade balance for all EU agri-food products showed an overall surplus of €16 billion, a bit lower than the €18 billion seen in 2014.
Figures for December 2015 reached €11.2 billion - nearly €1 billion (more than 9%) higher than December 2014. The highest increases in monthly values were recorded for exports to USA, China and Japan, as well as for some Middle East countries, notably Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. In sectoral terms, the biggest monthly rise relative to December 2014 were witnessed for wheat as well as for vegetables and for pork. On the other hand, exports decreased since last December for milk powder and hides and skins. EU's agri-food imports also increased compared to December last year. The highest increase in monthly imports was from Ukraine, followed by imports from USA and Australia. Imports of unroasted coffee, tea, wheat, oilseeds and tropical fruits, spices and nuts increased while imports of oilcakes, beet and cane sugar, soya beans and palm oil went down.