Venezuela Dairy Imports Update – Oct ’14
In addition to an expected decline in dairy imports over the next several months in Russia and China, events in Venezuela could also have potential negative ramifications for the global dairy supply and demand balance. Venezuela is the largest importer of dairy products in South America and the second largest dairy importer within the Americas, trailing only Mexico. Venezuela’s economy is dominated by the oil industry, with oil exports providing most of the country’s foreign currency. According to OPEC, Venezuela’s oil revenues account for roughly 95% of export earnings and the oil and gas sector accounts for approximately 25% of total GDP. Recently, crude oil prices have declined significantly, presenting additional problems for an already struggling Venezuelan economy. Brent and WTI crude oil prices have fallen 20.1% and 17.3%, respectively since the beginning of June. Given their dependence on oil prices, Venezuela may be forced to significantly reduce imports of products including dairy in the near term. Weakness in the Venezuelan economy represents an additional risk factor on the demand side of the global dairy balancing act heading into 2015.