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Ireland 11.01.2024

Irish Dairy Exports Experience Nearly 8% Decrease in Value Amid Global Challenges

Source: The DairyNews
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According to the recently released Bord Bia Export Performance and Prospects Report 2023—2024, the value of Irish dairy exports for 2023 amounted to €6.3 billion, reflecting a nearly 8% decline compared to the previous year.
Irish Dairy Exports Experience Nearly 8% Decrease in Value Amid Global Challenges
The overall value of Irish food exports for 2023 stood at almost €16.3 billion, marking a decrease from the record-breaking €16.7 billion in 2022, which witnessed a 22% increase from 2021.

Key Highlights:

Inflation and Affordability Challenges: The report attributes the decrease in dairy export value to global dairy market downturns following a robust performance in 2022. High farmgate milk prices in the latter half of 2022 led to increased supply and resulted in high stocks of expensive dairy products globally at the beginning of 2023. Affordability challenges due to the cost of living crisis also impacted consumer choices.

Product-Specific Trends:

Butter: Irish butter exports saw a 12% decrease in value to €1.3 billion, influenced by a significant decline in EU butter prices.
Cheese: Exports increased by €55 million to approximately €1.3 billion, marking a 4% rise from 2022.
Skim Milk Powder (SMP): Export volumes exceeded 2022 levels, but the value declined by over €30 million to an estimated €585 million.
Specialised Nutritional Powders: Exports increased by around €45 million (+6%) to €800 million.
Whole Milk Powder (WMP): A 4% growth in 2023 reached a value of €220 million.
Fat Filled Milk Powder (FFMP): Exports were down by 9% to an estimated €825 million.
Casein: Exports valued at an estimated €500 million, witnessing a €185 million drop from 2022.
Market Trends:

EU: Dairy exports to the EU decreased by 9% to €2.2 billion.
UK: A 15% decline to €1.1 billion in dairy exports.
North America: An 8% drop to €750 million.
Asia: A 3% decline to an estimated value of €880 million, with a 5% decrease in exports to China.
Middle East: A 24% growth to €390 million, mainly driven by retail sales in Saudi Arabia and increased trade with the UAE and Iraq.
Milk Supply: Irish milk collections in 2023 dropped by almost 2% to around 8.7 billion liters, marking the first decrease since the abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015.

Bord Bia anticipates 2024 to be a pivotal year for the Irish dairy sector, emphasizing the need to align with climate and nitrates action programs. The report suggests a modest increase in output from major exporting regions and a 2% growth in imports, with specific focus on China, the UK, and the US.

The report predicts lower on-shelf prices in 2024, attracting consumers back to the dairy category.
Becky Smith
Becky Smith
Analyst (Livestock) AHDB
China is an important buyer on the world dairy markets, with a strong influence on global demand that plays into price dynamics. Imports of dairy products to China continued to decline in 2023, driven by increased domestic production and weaker consumer demand.
Keith Woodford
Keith Woodford
principal consultant at Agri food Systems Ltd.
Synlait is in big trouble with losses mounting up and no easy answers, says Keith Woodford. For much of the past 20 years, Synlait was an entrepreneurial player in the New Zealand dairy industry, with a strong focus on growth. For a long time, it seemed to be doing everything right.