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Catalonia's agri-food exports surpass 15 billion euros for the first time

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Catalonia's agri-food exports surpass 15 billion euros for the first time

  1. Agri-food exports have set a new export record with just over 15.327 billion euros exported, representing a 3.22% increase compared to 2022, and continue to be a driving force of the Catalan economy.
  2. The sector continues to demonstrate its competitiveness in foreign markets and in the last 10 years, Catalan agri-food exports have grown by 89.95% in value and 16.15% in volume.
  3. The agri-food sector remains the third largest economic export sector in Catalonia, with one out of every six euros exported coming from this sector (15.22%).

The Government of Catalonia presented the Catalan agri-food export data for the year 2023, based on the data published by the State Tax Administration Agency (AEAT). The value of Catalonia’s exports exceeded 15 billion euros for the first time (€15.327 billion), a 3.22% increase in value compared to the figures for 2022.

The latest agri-food export data confirms the sector’s competitive trend in foreign markets due to its added value. In the last 10 years, Catalan agri-food exports have grown by 89.95% in value and 16.15% in volume. Catalonia is an exporting power in food and beverages ahead of Portugal, Greece, Peru, Colombia, Sweden and Japan.

The agri-food industry remains Catalonia’s third largest export sector, behind semi-finished goods and capital goods, with which it has been closing the gap. This means that one out of every six euros exported by Catalonia comes from agri-food exports (15.22%) and is equivalent to 5.66% of Catalan GDP.

In terms of volume, although exports decreased by 9.54% in 2023 compared to the previous year, this figure is slightly higher than the average for Spain (-8.88%) and the EU (-6.17%). This decrease is mainly due to the impact of the low production in the olive oil industry due to climatic factors, as well as in the cereals and milling sector. Additionally, it includes lower exports of fish products and meat, which for the second consecutive year have reduced their exported volume but increased in value.

Catalonia maintains the agri-food trade surplus it achieved for the first time in 2019, with a coverage rate of 103.97% in 2022, and exports more (just over €15.327 billion) than it imports (just under €14.743 billion).

Catalonia exports food and beverage products to almost 200 countries

The number of countries to which these products are exported remains stable (199) There was a significant increase in sales to the European Union compared to the previous year,with it receiving almost two-thirds (63.26%) of Catalan agri-food exports in 2023, up from nearly half (55.85%) in 2022, representing a growth of 16.91%. Remaining exports (36.74%) are destined for third markets, which have fallen by 14.10% overall. Exports decreased significantly to the regions of Latin America (-5.56%), North America (-6.54%), the Middle East (-20.58%), Oceania (-18.24%), Africa (-11.87%) and Asia (-26.78%).

Thus, given the context of instability in third markets, mainly in Asia, the Catalan agri-food sector has made a commitment to increase its sales to more stable and closer markets such as Europe.

Catalan businesses, optimistic about 2024

Businesses show moderately positive results for export activity in 2023 compared to 2022, with exporters experiencing better performance this year exceeding those who report it as worse by 10 points. Likewise, they are optimistic about the year 2024, as more than 60% of the sample think that 2024 will be better for agri-food exports than 2023, and only 8% think it will be worse.

With regard to the factors that influence export activity, international price competition is the most influential factor, followed by raw material prices, inflation, and transportation costs. Wars, international conflicts, and production shortages due to drought have emerged as significant threats in 2023.

You can download the various editions of the Catalan Export Barometer from the Prodeca website.