UK imports less pig meat in May
UK imports of pork and bacon in May were lower than a year earlier for the second month in a row.
Pork shipments were down by 12%, at 27,300 tonnes, the lowest figure at this time of year since 2002. With consumer demand relatively low, this suggests that retail buyers were able to source more of the pork they required from the increased supplies of UK pigs, even though imported pork was relatively cheap; at £1.70 per kg, prices were down 15% meaning the value of pork imports were down by a quarter. The three main suppliers, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands all sent less pork to the UK, although there were increases from Belgium, Spain and Poland.
Bacon imports also fell by 12%, to 18,400 tonnes, with the largest fall being in Danish supplies. Again lower prices meant the fall in value terms was even larger. There were increases in processed imports, with 3% more sausages and 11% more other processed products entering the UK, with growth driven by supplies from Poland.
UK pork exports also declined in May, compared with a year earlier, being down 12% at 12,800 tonnes. Reported problems with imports to Hong Kong meant shipments to that market were sharply lower. They may have also contributed to a drop in exports to Denmark and the Netherlands, likely for re-export. Trade with Ireland and Germany, however, was higher, with the former unusually being the leading market during the month. With unit prices down 9%, the value of exports was 20% lower than in May 2014, at £13.3 million.
Although much lower in volume, exports of processed and cured pig meat continued to perform well in May, while there was also growth in offal shipments. These were up 7% year on year in May, largely due to a strong recovery in volumes sent to other EU countries, particularly the Netherlands. Exports to China/Hong Kong were down slightly, as were those to some other Asian markets.