Dairy drives Irish exports, says Bord Bia report

Irish dairy exports have increased by 15% this year to top €3 billion for the first time, according to the report, Export Performance & prospects in Irish Food, Drink and Horticulture 2013/14, released by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board. Tight global supples and a spike in Chinese demand saw international dairy prices reaching record levels, and although they have eased since the high of US$6,283 per tonne in April, the ongoing supply situation is tight.

For Ireland, the strongest performing categories were butter, cheese, infant formula, milk and cream, WMP and whey.  Cheese accounts for almost a quarter of the total value at €725 million. However, infant formula exports increased to Asia, but overall volume for the products remained static. The UK is still a key market for exports, at 37% of total dairy output and accounting for €1.1 billion, with butter and cheese top products.

Continental EU market expanded by more than a quarter to make up 29% of total dairy exports, or €875 million, with the best growth to Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

Market increases were seen in exports to China and parts of southeast Asia, which offset reduced exports to the US, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Further growth in Irish output is predicted as producers get ready for the end of quotas in 2015. “The prospects for Irish dairy exports in 2014 remain broadly positive with global demand likely to help clear any increase in output to keep prices well ahead of hstorial averages,” the report notes.

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