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Australia’s UK wine exports slump 7% post-Brexit

Australia’s UK wine exports slump 7% post-Brexit

SYDNEY: Australian wine exports to the UK have dropped by 7% in value in the first full year since the country voted to leave the EU.

New figures from Wine Australia this week show that Australian wineries shipped AUD341m (US$270m) worth of wine to the UK in the 12 months to June, compared AUD369m in the year prior. The UK’s Brexit referendum was held in June last year.

The decline compares to flat value growth for the UK at the same time last year. It also lags strong export growth for other Australian wine markets in the latest figures, including a 33% jump for China and a 3% increase for the US. Overall, Australian wine exports jumped by 10% to AUD2.31bn in the year to June.

The UK remains Australia’s biggest export market by volume. However, a post-Brexit drop in the value of Sterling has created concern for Australian wineries operating in the UK. Speaking to just-drinks in June, the CEO of Australian Vintage, Neil McGuigan, said: “I’ve never seen anything before that has affected us as much as Brexit has.”

Despite the overall UK declines, Wine Australia highlighted “very strong growth” in UK exports at the high-end of price points. Exports at AUD10 per litre FOB or more grew by 13% to AUD28m.

Elsewhere, China was the main driver of Australia’s export growth, with sales climbing to $721m. China last year became Australia’s biggest wine export market by value, with Wine Australia praising the benefits of a free-trade deal between the two countries signed in 2015.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said that, overall, nearly all price points were in growth.

“The strongest growth was in more premium wines, with all price segments of AUD10 per litre FOB and above experiencing growth, and the strongest rate of growth for wines AUD30–49.99 per litre FOB,” Clark said. “There were a record 1,997 exporters last financial year and 69% contributed to the total increase in value shown.”