United Kingdom: trade balance for all dairy products in 2021

The United Kingdom trade balance for all dairy products was negative in volume terms in 2021, following two years of a small surplus. Including shipments of unprocessed milk, there was a deficit of 68000 tonnes in 2021, compared to a surplus of 53000 tonnes in 2020. Liquid milk has a big influence on the dairy trade balance, but the volume mostly comes from raw milk crossing the Irish border for processing. This category has the largest trade surplus, but this shrank in 2021, mainly due to higher imports. The largest contribution in the shift from surplus to deficit was in yogurt. The trade deficit in yogurt increased, driven by lower exports and higher imports than in 2020. Additionally, cream went back into a slight trade deficit in 2021, having been in surplus in 2020. Milk powders (SMP and WMP) maintained a trade surplus, but it was lower than in 2020. This was driven by lower exports, especially to the EU, which were likely hindered by post-EU-exit regulations. On a more positive note, the volume trade balances of butter, cheese, and concentrated milk all improved, with smaller trade deficits in 2021 than in 2020. Cheese had the most notable improvement, reducing the trade deficit by 49000 tonnes. Both imports and exports of cheese fell compared to 2020, but imports more so. This was most likely due to the foodservice sector still dealing with lockdowns and low demand through the year. (Source: AHDB)

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