Small rise in UK imports in June
Following a sharp fall in May, UK pork imports bounced back in June, reaching their highest level of the year at 30,800 tonnes.
However, this was only 3% higher than in June 2014. Growth was driven by Danish shipments, which were up by a third, with most of the increase down to higher volumes of chilled legs. Most other major suppliers actually sent less pork to the UK than a year before. Despite the small increase in June, imports for the first half of this year were still lower than a year earlier, as buyers continue to prefer domestic product. With prices well down on last year, the value of imports during the six months was 16% lower at £297.1 million.
Bacon imports were also slightly higher in June, compared with a year before. In this case, however, shipments from Denmark were lower but were offset by increased volumes from the other two major suppliers, the Netherlands and Germany. The latest figures show a very sharp increase in processed imports but this appears to be a data error, so the true position is unclear. However, sausage imports were lower than in June 2014, with less coming from Germany and Ireland.
Pork exports were also higher in June, with sales to China during the month up by three-quarters, although this is compared with an unusually low figure for June 2014. Germany and Ireland also took more UK pork. However, less was shipped to Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium, although this may simply be a case of more product being shipped directly to onward destinations, rather than via these countries. Despite the rise in volumes, lower unit prices meant that the value of exports was down 1% year on year in June, to £15.8 million, and by 12% for the first half of the year, at £88.8 million.
After a difficult start to the year, offal exports appear to be recovering, with a 24% year-on-year rise in June. Shipments to China reached a record 2,900 tonnes, 80% up on a year earlier. There were also strong sales to several smaller markets in Asia and Africa. These were only partly offset by lower volumes sent to Hong Kong and a small fall in sales to other EU countries.