UK imports and exports strengthen in September
During September, pork imports into the UK increased by 3% on the year . However, despite the gap between EU and UK pig prices reaching unprecedented levels, the increase in imports remains modest. UK pork exports also increased by 3% in September. Increased demand from Asian markets led UK exports, particularly from China.
During September, pork imports into the UK increased by 3% on the year to 30,200 tonnes. This was the largest monthly increase since April, resulting from somewhat higher supplies on the continent. With these supplies, combined with a strengthening pound, adding further pressure on prices, this made EU pork more attractive on the domestic market. However, despite the gap between EU and UK pig prices reaching unprecedented levels, the increase in imports remains modest. Imports of German pork declined by 29% compared with the same month last year but this was offset by increases from most other suppliers. The value of pork imports in September totalled £58.8 million, down 12% on a year earlier, as a result of subdued import prices. Bacon imports for September also rose, with more coming in from Denmark and Germany, in particular. However processed and sausage imports were down by 3% and 4% respectively compared with September 2013.
At 17,900 tonnes, UK pork exports also increased by 3% in September, compared with a year earlier. Two thirds of the pork is exported to the EU but this is lower than the previous year when nearly three-quarters was shipped to the continent. In fact, exports to the EU declined by 7% year on year as prices were 7% higher in euro terms. Increased demand from Asian markets led UK exports, particularly from China, as exports to this market rose by a quarter in the latest month. Supplies to Hong Kong increased by more than a third on the year. The value of UK pork exports was marginally higher than last September, at £21.2 million, despite a slightly lower average price. Stronger growth was recorded for offal exports, up by 13% on September 2013. The EU accounted for a smaller share of UK offal exports and volumes sent to the continent fell by 23%. However, trade with China and Hong Kong grew, rising by 31% and 50% respectively, to account for two-thirds of total volumes.