Italian imports strong in early 2015
The EU’s largest net importer of pork, Italy, bought 4% more in the first three months of this year than a year before.
At 269,000 tonnes, this represented the highest level of shipments for the first quarter in records back to 2000, helping to absorb some of the increased production across the EU. The largest supplier, Germany, which provides around a third of Italian imports, slightly increased its share, as did Spain and Denmark. This was offset by modest falls in shipments from the Netherlands and France. Among smaller suppliers, Poland and Austria increased volumes. With pork in more plentiful supply across Europe this year, prices were 9% down on the first three months of 2014. As a result, the value of imports fell by 6% to €478 million.
The increased imports helped fill some of the gap left by reduced domestic production. Despite this reduction, exports of speciality hams (the main output of the Italian industry) performed strongly in the first quarter, with 5% year-on-year growth. Shipments totalled 15,900 tonnes at a value of €160 million, up 3% on last year as prices held up well. France and Germany are the leading markets and both took more Italian ham, as did the UK. Outside the EU, exports to the US increased by around 20%, making it the third largest market for these products.