Higher imports to Italy
Pork imports in Italy, the EU’s largest net importer, between January and March strengthened by 6% compared with a year earlier. Similarly, pork exports were up 10% .
Pork imports in Italy, the EU’s largest net importer, between January and March strengthened by 6% compared with a year earlier, at 257,600 tonnes. The increase came despite lower household purchases of fresh and frozen pork, as tight domestic supplies led to a higher import requirement. Imports into Italy are predominantly from the EU, with Germany the main supplier, accounting for a third of the total market share. Pork imports from Germany increased by 2% on the year before but the slower-than-average growth meant it lost some market share. Imports from the Netherlands rose by 6% year on year, while trade with Spain grew in double digits, strengthening by 15% year on year. In fact, higher imports were recorded from all of the key EU suppliers, also including France, Denmark and Poland. With slightly lower prices, the value of pork imports in the first quarter of this year amounted to €505.7 million, up 3% year on year.
In the first quarter of this year, imports of live pigs rose to 336,300 head from 242,500 in the same period of 2013. Most were weaners sourced from Denmark and the Netherlands and both countries provided more pigs. These imports helped to offset tight supplies of Italian pigs to some extent.
Italian pig meat export volumes are much lower than its imports. Nevertheless, shipments of both pork and hams were somewhat higher in the first quarter of this year than in 2013. Pork exports were up 10% at 18,600 tonnes, while ham shipments rose by 5% to 15,000 tonnes. The two leading markets for Italian hams, France and Germany, were relatively subdued but there was good growth to some higher value markets, such as the US, UK and Switzerland.