UK pig meat trade slower in August
In contrast to the trends recorded earlier in the year, UK imports and exports of pig meat were both lower than a year ago in August.
In contrast to the trends recorded earlier in the year, UK imports and exports of pig meat were both lower than a year ago in August. Pork exports were 3% down on August 2013, at 14,600 tonnes. This was the first year-on-year decline since February. The drop was largely due to lower shipments to Ireland and Germany, although they remained the two largest markets during the month. The drop in exports to Germany was largely due to lower sow slaughterings on the back of falling cull prices. Most smaller EU markets took more UK pork, as did non-EU buyers; shipments to third countries were up by 21%. Among smaller markets, there was big growth in exports to the Philippines, Japan and South Africa. Strong sales to China and Hong Kong meant that offal exports were up by more than half compared with last August, despite less being sent to the rest of the EU.
UK imports in August were lower than a year earlier across all the main pig meat categories. This was despite prices being significantly lower than last year, mainly due to the strengthening of the pound against the euro. The average price of pork imports, £1,970 per tonne, was 9% lower than in August 2013 but volumes were still down 2%. A sharp fall in purchases from Germany was the main reason for the drop, with other major suppliers sending more pork to the UK. Overall, it was a similar story for bacon, with 4% less entering the UK than a year before, despite a 6% drop in prices. Germany again bucked the trend of other suppliers but this time its shipments rose, partly offsetting falls from Denmark and the Netherlands. Similarly, increased imports of German processed products failed to fully offset lower purchases from elsewhere. Sausage imports were also down overall but with trends varying between suppliers.