High December trade but EU exports lower in 2014
December trade figures from Eurostat indicate that EU-28 fresh and frozen pork exports were up on a year earlier at 130,500 tonnes.
However, overall exports for 2014 as a whole experienced a fall of 2% compared with 2013, to less than 1.6 million tonnes. As has previously been reported, the impact of the Russian ban, which began in February, resulted in a 95% decrease in EU exports to this market last year. However, it is evident that the majority of this product found alternative markets in Asia. In December, the top four destinations for EU pork were Asian markets, with a 62% market share. Similarly, over the year the top five markets, all in Asia, accounted for 66% of EU exports. Consistent, rapid growth has been seen in South Korea partly due to disease affecting its own production. China imported slightly less on the year, and Japan overtook it, increasingly choosing EU pork over US product because of a change in price relativity. Exports to Australia also increased significantly on the month and the year.
In light of the problems on the Russian market which even contributed to falling finished pig prices in the EU export unit prices were down on the year by an average of 1%. Consequently, the value of these exports for 2014 fell 3% to €3.7 billion.
Offal exports followed a rising trend, being up 8% on the year to nearly 1.1 million tonnes, with even stronger growth in December. China continued to be the main recipient, increasing both in December and over the year. The Russian ban appears to have had less of an impact on EU offal exports than on fresh and frozen pork, as Asia readily absorbed larger quantities, some of which was higher in price, increasing the value of offal exports in 2014 to over €1.2 billion.