Dairy exports from the UK have been on a downward spiral as many countries struggle with Covid-19, according to new figures from AHDB.

The levy board shows that dairy exports from the UK slipped 15% between the months of July to September 2020 (Q3), compared to the same period in 2019, with the total figure of 295,000 tonnes, down 54,000t. Overall, trade to date has slipped by more than 1m tonnes, down 12% on same period in 2019.

Katherine Jack, AHDB Dairy analyst, said a large share of the Q3 decline came from lower powders and concentrates exports compared to Q3 2019, down 21k tonnes overall.

Skim milk powder (SMP) exports to the Middle East and North Africa during the quarter were down by almost 6000tonnes on the year, with 3.6k tonnes less going to Algeria, she said.

"However it should be noted that large fluctuations are fairly usual due to the Algeria’s tendering and buying practices for SMP," Ms Jack added.

"On the WMP (whole milk powder) side, volumes shipped to the EU fell by 6.5k tonnes year on year."

The decline in cheese exports in Q3 was mainly driven by lower exports to the European Union, down 5.3k tonnes or 12%. There was growth in exports to some other regions, although these are much smaller export markets than the EU.

Exports to Asia and Oceania were up 5% or 138 tonnes, with higher exports to Hong Kong helping offset a drop in exports to China.

In North America, exports grew 2%, or 54 tonnes, driven by an 8% increase in exports to the United States.