South Korean imports up on the year
South Korea imported 24% more pork in 2014 due to depressed domestic production and robust consumer demand.
South Korea imported 24% more fresh and frozen pork in 2014 than in 2013, recording almost 363,000 tonnes, although this remains short of the figure for 2012 when the Korean industry was still recovering from a major FMD outbreak. Throughout the year, more was imported in each quarter, with October to December reaching 99,000 tonnes alone, up by more than half on a year before. The reasons behind this increase are attributed to continued depressed domestic production due to poor profitability in 2013, herds suffering from PEDv, which is lingering on, as well as some new FMD cases being confirmed from August to December. However, domestic demand for pork has not faltered and a new declaration that the pork supply chain is now ‘fully traceable’, with individual identification and tracking, confirms investment in the industry is expected to be supported by the consumer. The total value of pork imports for 2014 was ₩1,220 billion (£700million), up over a third on the year, as unit prices from most sources increased.
The EU’s market share of pork imports was over 50% for 2014, as South Korea absorbed some product diverted from Russia. Volumes showed a significant increase in the second half of the year, particularly from Germany and Spain, and unit prices were slightly reduced from most EU countries as product needed moving quickly. The UK’s contribution also increased, by 3% on the year to 1,850 tonnes. Imports from the US also increased for the year but only by 7% as their own production was also hindered by PEDv, pushing unit prices up. Decreased shipments from Chile and China could be due to some of their pork going to Russia instead.