Further increase in Korean Pork imports
South Korea’s pork imports increased during the first six months of 2015 but are projected to ease back in the second half as domestic production recovers from outbreaks of PEDv and FMD over the last year or so.
However, they are expected to remain at a higher level than in 2013, before the disease outbreaks began, as production will not have fully returned to normal. Efforts to reduce sow numbers in 2013, coupled with an increased PEDv outbreak during the first half of 2014, have kept import demand high. However, the number of pigs on farm rose 3% in the first quarter of 2015, so production is forecast to increase during the second half of the year. Overall Korean pork consumption has increased, partly due to consumers switching from beef, increased popularity in barbecues and fears about fish consumption after the Fukushima nuclear plant accident in 2011.
Imports from the EU increased 54% compared to the same period in 2014, partly due to Spain’s shipments more than doubling. In contrast, the US saw an annual increase of only 21% leading to a decrease in its overall market share. The strength of the US dollar relative to the Euro contributed to the increase in market share for the EU. The average import price in Won was up 7%, but with a 1% drop for EU product contrasting with a 15% increase for the US. The United States is expected to increase its price competitiveness over EU suppliers in the second half of the year, given sharp price falls on its domestic market.