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Dairy exports are holding back after a decade of growth

An alarming situation, according to Assolatte

In September 2020, many of the categories of the most exported cheeses recorded a decline in both volumes and, even more markedly, in values.

After a decade of continuous growth, the latest update on international trade provides an unprecedented picture of Italian dairy exports. A picture characterized by a decline in values due to the fall in prices and the reduction in export volumes of high value added cheeses. In September 2020, many of the categories of the most exported cheeses recorded a decline in both volumes and, even more markedly, values.
Globally, volumes held up (+ 1.1% compared to the same month of 2019) against a notable decrease in turnover (-7.1%). This negative performance affected the cumulative trend of the first nine months of 2020. If volumes remain almost unchanged (+ 0.6%), the value of dairy exports fell by almost 4%. A decline, clarifies Assolatte, due to multiple factors: the impact of US duties, the general slowdown in trade caused by the pandemic and the drop in the prices of Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano. Looking at the categories, in these nine months there has been a marked decline in the volumes of Pecorino (-23.2%) and Asiago and similar (-16.2%). Volumes of Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano, on the other hand, remained stable (-0.4%), despite a decline of 8.4% in value. In contrast the fresh ones (+ 10.8% in volume and + 8.4% in value) and Gorgonzola (+ 3.1% in volume and + 1.1% in value). With regard to destinations, Assolatte's analysis confirms the EU as the reference point for Italian exporters - even if it suffers the difficulties of the Spanish market - while the United States (-24.6%) and Japan (-14.8%) continue to send negative signals. The performance in China is significantly better (+ 4.1%), which in September alone recorded an increase in orders of 37.6% (+ 43.9% in value). “The decline we are experiencing is a bad sign on which to start an immediate reflection - declares Paolo Zanetti, president of Assolatte. - Dairy exports involve over 40% of the volumes of our productions". An inversion of the positive trend established in the last decade would have a catastrophic effect for the dairy industry and for the milk supply chain: "The crisis in the horeca channel, which in our country absorbed 30% of our cheeses, has seriously affected everyone. difficulties and has jeopardized the survival of many production companies - explains Zanetti. - But if we consider that in the countries of destination of our exports the same channel is also worth 70%, then the risk we are running is highlighted”.

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EFA News - European Food Agency