Further growth for Spanish exports
Spanish fresh/frozen pork exports continued to grow in the first quarter of 2017. At almost 385 thousand tonnes, volumes were over 8% higher than a year earlier.
Growth was particularly driven by extra-EU trade, which increased 17% compared to Q1 2016. Within this, shipments to China continued to perform well, climbing 20% year-on-year. Though from a smaller base, Japanese shipments also saw strong growth, increasing by over a quarter on the year.
Within the EU, growth was more modest, up 3% year-on-year. This was largely driven by a 30% increase in shipments to the UK. Most other larger destinations, including France, Portugal and Poland, reported modest declines of 3-4% on Q1 2016.
However, in more recent months Spanish exports may not have been as buoyant. Tight supplies drove the pig price to increase sharply during March, reducing the competitiveness of Spanish meat on the Asian market. Equally, there are reports demand from China has weakened, with their domestic pork price continuing to decline. This will likely limit the extent to which Spanish pig prices can climb, as weak European demand for pig meat increases the importance of third country exports. Indeed, processor margins are already reported to be squeezed, and Spanish prices have remained relatively flat over the past month compared to the rest of Europe.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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