Catalonia exceeds € 10,000 million in agrifood exports for the first time

Exportacions agroalimentàries per sectors
  • The exports of the agri-food sector of Catalonia total € 10,677.42 M
  • The increase in 2019 compared to 2018 has been 8.48%, the highest since 2015
  • A new record has been achieved with 2,760 regular exporting companies
  • Sales of Catalan food products abroad during 2019 represent 21.20% of the total State agri-food exports
  • Catalan agri-food exports grow 12.61% more than Spain's total
  • Catalonia has achieved the trade surplus for the first time in 2019


In 2019, agri-food exports of Catalonia have grown 18.48% in value and 1.43% in volume compared to the previous year, totaling 10,677.42 M € and 6,458,195.05 tons, according to the provisional data that ends of making DataComex public. These exports represent in value 21.20% of the total of Spain, which grows 15.87%.

In this way, the agri-food sector is consolidated as the third economic export sector in Catalonia, behind the semi-invoices and equipment goods and surpassing for the first time the automobile sector, with whom it has been cutting distances in recent years .

Regarding the number of export companies in the agri-food sector, a new record has been achieved with 2,760 regular export companies (those that accumulate, at least, 4 consecutive years of sales abroad). They represent an increase of 1.25% compared to 2018.

Catalan exports have registered, therefore, a very good year, despite the global economic and political context of growing uncertainty and slowdown in trade. It must be remembered that the year 2019 has stood out for the increase in protectionism worldwide, led by Trump's US government role, as well as the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.


The Meat and Fine Food sectors lead foreign trade 


The road maintains leadership in agri-food exports (37.70% of the total), with € 4,024.86 M. With a volume increase of 9.43% over the previous year the value has skyrocketed by 23.81%. The pig stands out, which represents 65.74% of the export value of the meat sector and 24.78% of the total value of exports. This sector grows by 32.80%, especially thanks to exports to China, which becomes the first market for the sector, surpassing France and Japan. This increase in pig contributes positively to the annual variation rate of exports by 0.8 points.

In second place are Fine Food products, with € 3,114.97 million, 29.17% of the total exported in value. This sector has contributed positively to the annual variation rate of the total growth of agri-food exports by 0.3 points. It is led by the following categories: bakery and pastry products (10.71% of the total Fine Food), cocoa and its preparations (9.19%), extracts, essences and concentrates (7.14%), confectionery (6, 90%), cereal products (6.88%), dairy products (6.64%), coffee (6.55%), nuts (5.53%), jams and jams (4, 60 %), vegetable juices (3.86%), beer (2.96%), water (2.03%), fruit juices (1.97%).

The export capacity of the fruit and vegetable garden sector is in third position (8.08%) with € 862.70 M. Registers an increase in the value of 4.81% compared to 2018 and 9.56% in volume. The best-selling products in terms of value abroad are peaches, nectarines, citrus fruits, apples, and pears.

The oils occupy the fourth position with 5.91%. This category decreases by 12.90% in value, practically maintaining the volume with a slight increase of 0.36% and totaling € 631.34 million exported. Likewise, olive oil decreases its exports by 13.43% in value, although it increases its exported volume by 19.78%.

The wine and cava sector, after having 2 consecutive years of growth, presents in 2019 negative data with a decrease of 11.53% in value compared to the same period of the previous year. It remains the fifth export sector, representing 5.35% of Catalan exports and achieving € 571.73 million exported.

Cereals, milling, and seeds represent 3.84%, with € 409.85 million exported, and a 3.32% growth in value is observed.

The fish and seafood sector, in the seventh position, represents 2.55% of agri-food exports with € 272.80 exported, Ccfra lower by 9.19% compared to 2018. This fact is explained by the decrease in volume exported.


Agro-food exports grow in value 

The Catalan agri-food sector has great potential for the future due to a growing global demand for value-added products. Aligned with the most demanding markets, Catalonia is one of the leading agri-food clusters and benchmarks in Europe, with value-added products with a wide variety of quality food and beverages, high levels of food safety and capacity for innovation and adaptation to main growth trends, such as the link to the Mediterranean Diet. Likewise, gastronomy has become a strategic projection engine that plays a key role in the economic sphere in Catalonia.

The last decade, the agri-food sector of Catalonia has made a great commitment to the internationalization of its products and this is shown by the data: Catalonia is putting its products in value in foreign markets so that, although the volume exported in the last 10 years has increased by 49.66%, the value has almost doubled (95.56%). In the last five years, the value has grown at double the volume. This is also confirmed by the calculation of the export value/volume ratio of the entire agri-food sector, which in 2019 stands at 1.65 compared to 1.27 in 2009. The sectors that export with the highest value in euros per kilogram are the of fish (6.48), wine and cava (2.45), "Fine Food - multiproduct" (2.54), meat (2.42), oil (1.29) and fruit and the vegetables (0.87).


Where do we export more? 

Catalonia exports food and drinks in more than 190 countries, mainly European countries, but destinations such as China, the United States or the African market (Kenya, Nigeria, DR Congo or Senegal) are increasingly attractive for Catalan products.

Exports to the European Union, 63.76% of the total, have increased by 4.70%. Likewise, exports to third countries, 36.24% of the total, have increased by 15.82%, with increases in Asia (31.84%), Africa (5.18%) and the Middle East (2.78% ) and decreases in North America (1.95%), Latin America (2.70%) and Oceania (13.88%).

The main importing countries of Catalan agri-food products during 2019 have been: France (17.59%), Italy (9.27%), China (7.60%), Germany (6.62%), Portugal ( 5.40%), United Kingdom (5.14%), Japan (3.50%) Poland (3.05%) and United States (3.03%). China, a destination where it barely exported ten years ago, ranked 2018 as the 6th destination for Catalan agri-food exports. In 2019 it has climbed positions to become the 3rd destination with an increase of 138.11% in value, the last year in its Catalan food and beverage imports. It also highlights the increase of 10.54% in Japan, 29.07% in Poland, 19.41% in the Czech Republic.

Making an analysis of the evolution in recent years, it is evident that the Far East countries with China at the helm and together with Korea and Japan, are the most dynamic in terms of growth of European agri-food imports. The impulse of our foreign sales is especially concentrated in geographical areas where there is a growth of the population and income of the middle classes. We also find potential in our traditional European markets that increasingly value our food products.


Trade surplus 

Catalonia has achieved for the first time the trade surplus during the first half of 2019, registering a coverage rate of 104.74 throughout the year, that is, exports of agri-food products (10,677.42 million euros) are slightly higher to imports (€ 10,194.60 M).

The coverage rate, which takes stock of exports and imports, is an economic indicator that, together with the increase in value, gives us a vision of the competitiveness of Catalan companies and their commercial attractiveness, as well as their production and export capacity.


Agrifood, engine of the Catalan economy 

The agri-food sector is one of the main pillars of the economy of Catalonia. With 38.205 million euros in the entire value chain (primary sector, food, and beverage industry and auxiliary industry), the turnover of the agri-food sector is equivalent to 16.28% of Catalonia's GDP, which It positions as the main manufacturing industry in the country. The whole agri-food sector and its auxiliary industry have 163,372 workers, 57,423 farms, 3,922 companies, and 436 establishments. In total, the food processing industry in Catalonia represents 24% of Spain's turnover.



Composition of the sectors 


The study of agri-food export data from Catalonia has taken into account for each sector the products specified below.

The 2018 and previous data are final and the 2019 data are provisional.

Meat sector: meat, live animals, processed meats, sausages, meat and canned preparations, animal offal and animal oils and fats.

Fine Food Sector multiproduct: dairy products, honey, eggs, pastry products, confectionery and sweets, coffee, tea and infusions, sauces, ice cream, beer, water, fermented beverages, distillates, canned vegetables, canned fish and seafood, vinegars, Fruit preparations, fruit jams, juices.

Fruit and vegetable garden sector: fruit, nuts and vegetables.

Olive oil sector: olive oil and other vegetable oils.

Wine and cava sector: wine, cava and other grape wines.

Fish and seafood sector: fish, shellfish, fish oils and fats.

Cereals, milling and seeds sector: cereals, milling products and seeds.



DataComex - A.E.A.T, IDESCAT

Prodeca Knowledge and Strategy Area




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