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GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS - Egg Trade in Europe Shows Rising Trend

by 5m Editor
30 March 2011, at 12:00am

In the second part of this series for ThePoultrySite on the trends in Europe's egg industry, industry watcher, Terry Evans, highlights the growth in egg consumption in the region as a whole, as well as the increases in trade in both shell eggs and egg products.

Rising Trade in Shell Eggs

Worldwide, the trade in shell eggs went up by more than 50 per cent between 2000 and 2007, the most recent year with information for almost every country, from around 950,000 tonnes to 1.45 million tonnes. Thus, as a proportion of global production the volumes traded have risen from 1.9 to 2.4 per cent.

Exports from European countries account for around 63 per cent of all shell eggs traded while imports by this group represents some 68 per cent of world trade (tables 1 and 2). The corresponding percentages for EU member states are 59 per cent and 64 per cent, respectively.

Within the European scene EU member countries account for around 95 per cent of the total imported and exported.

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Of imports into EU states in 2007, just four countries – Germany, the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom – accounted for 78 per cent of the total and 74 per cent of the European total.

A similar picture emerges when looking at shell egg exports. Here in 2007, just five EU countries – the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Poland and Belgium – accounted for 81 per cent of the total exported by EU states and 76 per cent of all such deals made by European countries.

The Netherlands is the leading exporter of shell eggs in Europe selling almost 350,000 tonnes in 2007. Some 90 per cent went to EU member countries with Germany easily the main customer taking some 261,000 tonnes or three-quarters of all Dutch shell egg exports. Biggest customer for Dutch eggs outside the EU was Switzerland, buying almost 12,500 tonnes. Provisional data for 2009 point to Dutch exports of table eggs rising to around 390,000 tonnes, of which Germany took 76 per cent, the UK five per cent, while Switzerland and Belgium/Luxembourg each accounted for around four per cent.

The trade data for Spain for 2007 reveals that 96 per cent of sales were made within the EU, with France the leading buyer, taking 45,300 tonnes of the total of 105,000 tonnes.

Nearly 70 per cent of Germany's exports totalling 91,000 tonnes were within the Community, the Netherlands (25,437 tonnes) and the UK (20,075 tonnes) being the major customers. Switzerland was the biggest buyer outside the EU, purchasing nearly 10,000 tonnes. Clearly, the bulk of exports from EU countries are to fellow Member States.

However, the most dramatic movement in this business in the current decade has been the rapid growth in Poland's exports, from less than 300 tonnes in 2000 to more than 88,000 tonnes in 2007. Much of this gain occurred after Poland had joined the EU in 2004. Looking at 2007's exports, Germany took almost 31,500 tonnes, while the Czech Republic and Denmark each bought more than 10,000 tonnes. However, Poland is one of the member countries finding it difficult to switch production out of conventional cages. That the EU authorities have rejected Poland's request for a five-year extension for it to comply with the ban will surely impact adversely on both its production and export levels.

Shell egg imports by European countries (table 4) tells an almost identical story to that of exports with some 95 per cent of the total being purchased by Member States. Just three countries – Germany, France and the Netherlands – accounted for the bulk (68 per cent) of the trade, while these three plus Belgium and the UK represented nearly 78 per cent.

In 2007, Germany was easily the leading importer in Europe purchasing almost 312,000 tonnes, which was around one-third of the total. The Netherlands was easily the main supplier to this market accounting for more than three-quarters of all Germany's imports. Poland was the second key supplier though the volume involved at 24,800 tonnes was only 10 per cent of the Dutch figure.

Germany banned the use of conventional layer cages two years ahead of the date on which the Directive comes into force. The banning of this system of housing by 31 December 2009 resulted in a sharp cutback of 11 per cent in Germany's production while conversely between December 2008 and 2009 imports grew by almost 14 per cent to the benefit of Dutch, Polish and Belgian exporters, as Germany's self-sufficiency fell to around 54 per cent. While production in Germany will increase, it is anticipated that it will take several years before a self-sufficiency level of between 60 to 70 per cent can be achieved, according to Professor Windhorst.

Belgium (80,000 tonnes), Germany (60,000 tonnes) and Spain (14,000 tonnes) were the leading exporters to the Netherlands in 2007, while Spain was easily the top supplier to the French market sending some 143,000 tonnes or 80 per cent of the total.

With total purchases of 54,000 tonnes, the United Kingdom bought significant quantities of shell eggs from Germany, the Netherlands, France and Spain.

The ban on conventional cages throughout the EU will impact adversely on supplies, at least towards the end of this year and for the first half of 2012. Whereas the cut-back in production in Germany has been offset by increased imports from neighbouring countries, this cannot happen in the EU in 2012, as output in the Community will be insufficient to meet demand, which will incidentally result in higher consumer egg prices.

The obvious concern for producers is whether imports that do not meet the quality controls to which EU eggs are subjected will be allowed from non-EU countries.

Egg Products Trade Shows Rapid Growth

The world trade in dried egg expanded rapidly by almost 77 per cent between 2000 and 2007 and there is every indication that it has continued to increase since then, with recent reports showing particularly strong growth in shipments from the US, with Germany, Denmark and Sweden featuring prominently as major recipients.

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Exports of dried egg from European countries have not matched the global growth but have still attained an annual increase of some five per cent to exceed 27,000 tonnes in 2007 (table 5). Virtually all this trade has been from European Union Member States. The leaders in this field in 2007 were France (6,729 tonnes), the Netherlands (6,457 tonnes), Belgium (3,764 tonnes) and Germany (3,404 tonnes), these four accounting for 75 per cent of the total for Europe.

France's main customers were Germany (1,501 tonnes), Spain (1,152 tonnes,) Poland (581 tonnes) and the Netherlands (565 tonnes).

Germany (2,045 tonnes) was easily the leading buyer of Dutch dried egg products with Poland (541 tonnes) and France (481 tonnes) some way behind.

France (1,376 tonnes) was the leading recipient of Belgian products with Germany (975 tonnes) and the Netherlands (857 tonnes) in the number two and three spots, respectively.

Imports of dried egg into European countries (table 6) far exceed exports and have grown by almost 10 per cent per year. In this instance, EU countries accounted for 90 per cent of the Europe total in 2007.

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The UK was the biggest importer the quantities growing annually to almost 9,500 tonnes in 2007, purchases being mainly from Germany (4,359 tonnes), Denmark (1,837 tonnes) and the Netherlands (1,386 tonnes).

Germany (6,441 tonnes) was the second most important market in Europe, though the quantity bought declined between 2005 and 2007. While, not surprisingly the Netherlands (1,778 tonnes) was the leading supplier, followed by France (1,156 tonnes), it is of interest that more than 1,000 tonnes came from India.

India again features prominently in the breakdown of Danish (5,588 tonnes) imports in 2007, supplying almost 2,000 tonnes with the USA second with nearly 1,600 tonnes.

Belgium (1,712 tonnes) was the leading supplier to the Dutch (3,331 tonnes) market.

Outside the EU, the Russian Federation (2,571 tonnes) was the biggest buyer, the bulk of purchases coming from Denmark (1,431 tonnes) and somewhat surprisingly Argentina (607 tonnes).

The growth in exports and imports of liquid egg by European countries between 2000 and 2007 was more rapid than the expansion worldwide. The global trade in liquid products grew by six per cent per year to reach nearly 218,000 tonnes in 2007. However, exports from European countries expanded by more than seven per cent per year, totalling almost 187,000 tonnes in 2007, virtually all of which were from EU member states.

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The Netherlands was the most important exporter selling some 86,000 tonnes or 46 per cent of the Europe total, with Germany (37,749 tonnes) the main customer followed by Belgium (12,680 tonnes), Denmark (9,905 tonnes) and the UK (8,864 tonnes).

France accounted for (28,206 tonnes) or 15 per cent of the trade with Belgium (15,184 tonnes), Germany (4,758 tonnes), the UK (2,807 tonnes) and Spain (2,174 tonnes) the leading buyers.

Two-thirds of all the liquid egg imports into European countries were bought by just four countries – Germany (49,602 tonnes), France (27,491 tonnes), the UK (22,125 tonnes) and Belgium (21,706 tonnes). In each case, the dominant supplier was the Netherlands.

- You can view other articles in our series Global Poultry Trends by clicking here.


March 2011