By the end of 2016 744 thousand tons of dairy products were delivered from Russia to foreign markets. This is a record value for the last four years, according to the report AC MilkNews and the National Union of milk producers ("Soyuzmoloko"). In 2012, shipments reached 624 thousand tons, in 2013 — 639 thousand tons, in 2014 — 720 thousand tons, in 2015 — 670 thousand tons. The money volume of exports in 2016 reached $267 million versus $252 million a year before, but remained below the maximum of 2013 ($372 million) because of decreasing of export prices. In 2015, they fell by almost a half — from $1.1 to $0,59 thousand per ton.
The report's authors explain last year's export growth by the favorable exchange rate and limited demand on the domestic market caused by inflation, reduced imports and decreasing of incomes of people. According to Rosstat, in January-November of 2016 the prices for dairy products rose by 7.7%, and real incomes decreased by 5.8%. Due to this fact, the consumption of dairy products in 2016 decreased by 1%, the report said.
The export of cheese products and ice cream grew the most in 2016— in January-October it amounted to 35% (up to 17.9 thousand tons) and 32% (up to 15.9 thousand tons), respectively. These are products with a high margin, which can be kept for a long time, says general director of Petrova Five Consulting Marina Petrova. According to the Executive Director of "Soyuzmoloko" Artem Belov, modern dairy products and ice cream are supplied today from Russia both by transnational corporations (PepsiCo, Danone) and local manufacturers. While local players deal with exports in the highly fragmented market of cheese and cheese products.
The bulk of the supply of Russian dairy products - 91% in real terms – fell on CIS countries last year. The largest importer with a share of 45% was Kazakhstan, the second place was occupied by Ukraine — 17%, and Belarus was the third with a share of 12%. Outside the CIS the main buyers of Russian dairy products in 2016 was Abkhazia — 26%, Mongolia — 24%. Exports to China, which accounted for 20%, for ten months of last year increased in cash terms 2.7 times, up to $6.7 million, and 3 times in real terms, up to 10.7 thousand tons (the ice cream - 55%, and cheese products — 39%). "Asian consumers have not got formed tastes yet, in such a situation one can deliver to the market Russian cheese products that will be able to compete with European cheeses," says Mrs. Petrova.
Asian producers are planning the localization of dairy production in Russia, hoping to send some of the products on domestic markets. In Moscow region a Vietnamese TH Group is going to build nine farms for 350 thousand heads for $2.7 billion. Thai CP Group with the Russian direct investment fund will invest $1 billion in a complex for 80 thousand heads in Ryazan region.
In 2017, Mr. Belov expects growth of export of dairy products by 8-10% in real terms against the background of the weak ruble and a further reduction of the domestic market. But high interest of players from Europe and New Zealand in the Chinese market can prevent the increase in supply from Russia, warns Marina Petrova.
Read full article in Russian on DairyNews.ru