UK cheese exports up, says AHDB

UK exports of cheese rose considerably in the first quarter (Jan-Mar) of 2019. Around 57,000 tonnes were exported, up 14% on a year ago and up 22% on the previous quarter, the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board reports. After dipping in the middle of 2018, it appears quarterly exports have perked back up – and then some.

The EU remains the primary export destination for UK cheese, and exports to the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium increased compared to the first quarter of 2018. Exports to Ireland were down, though this is after a strong performance in 2018. Further afield, the UK increased its exports to both China and the US, though in relatively small amounts. Total exports to non-EU destinations were slightly down on the same period in 2018, but higher than other quarters of 2018.

UK milk production ran high through the winter, and increased product availability could have helped boost cheese exports in January-March 2019. It is also possible that exports received a boost from Brexit uncertainty, as foreign buyers may have sought to stock up before the expected leave date in April. If this is the case, we may see a drop off in exports in the next quarter, since buyers will already be supplied.

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