Global trade continued to grow in H1 2021 (+4,8%) despite the disruption of (maritime) supply chains and the drop in EU-UK trade. The growth took place on top of already very impressive volumes in 2020 and exceeded 40 million tonnes in milk equivalent.
China is by far the main driver for the growth, accounting for 29% of all trade and with imports growing by 37% in ME
EU exports were rather weak, down -3% in total and by -0,4% if trade with the UK is excluded. Cheese and whey were the only bright spots, whereas lower production would seem to be the main cause for the drop in the other categories.
The logistical capacity constraints and shipping woes have gotten worse. The lack of availability of containers and vessels, high freight rates, unreliable schedules and delayed exports are expected to remain a feature of global trade for some time.
Covid remains an issue due to the spread of the Delta variant, but the mood is now optimistic thanks to the high uptake of vaccinations in many countries.
EU-UK trade is subdued with volumes over 25% below pre-Brexit levels and this is not expected to change. The relationship is tense, and the only trade facilitating development has been the second postponement of UK import controls until July 2022.
As expected, the suspension of US tariffs on EU dairy products in the context of the aircraft dispute has boosted EU exports across the Atlantic, with cheese shipments now above pre-tariffs levels.
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