News 512 views last update:6 Aug 2012

European Union became net exporter again in 2010

European Union agricultural exports jumped 21% in value to a record €91 billion in 2010, data published by the EU's executive arm showed, making the bloc a net exporter for the first time in four years.

"We estimate that 75% of the increase in value of exports is driven by an increase in volume of sales, reflecting stronger demand, while 25% may be attributed to an increase in prices" said the European Commission.
Exports were buoyed by a surge in demand from emerging economies such as China and Russia as a rebound in the global economy boosted world trade by 12% to a record high, the Commission said.
Rising commodities prices and a weakening euro also helped the 27-nation bloc swing to an agricultural trade surplus of €6 billion, and it is now the world's second-largest agricultural exporter behind the US.
Growth in value
"The surplus is largely due to growth in the value of exports after the contraction of trade in 2009 linked to economic crisis and the drop in commodity prices," the report said.
"Exchange rate fluctuations may also have contributed to the upsurge in exports, given the continued weakening of the euro against a number of major currencies in 2010."
Russian demand
Exports to China and Hong Kong both posted a record-breaking 50% jump, with the value of sales to both now generating more than €1 billion each, the report said.
But the largest absolute increase was to Russia, where the value of agricultural imports from the EU rose nearly one-third to €2.2 billion, making Russia the EU's second-largest market after the US.
Severe drought in the Black Sea, which prompted both Kiev and Moscow to restrict grain exports, are also estimated to have given EU wheat exports a €557 million boost and cut imports by €270 million, the Commission said.
Wheat was the EU's second-highest value export in 2010 at €3.4 billion.
EU also largest importer
The EU also remains by far the world's biggest agricultural importer with imports worth €83 billion in 2008-10, well ahead of the US.
More than 70% of total EU imports come from developing countries, the report said.

Dick Ziggers

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