Bans and currency hit Russian imports
During the first three months of 2015, Russia imported less than half as much pork as in the same period last year.
This was largely attributed to the ban on imports from the EU, Canada and the US, among others. Volumes were less than 30% of their level in the first quarter of 2013, before the initial ban on EU pork was imposed. Brazil was the major supplier, accounting for over three-quarters of the total, but even it shipped 22% less pork to Russia. Ukraine and Chile were the only other countries supplying over 1,000 tonnes; last year 12 countries provided at least this amount and the year before the number was 14.
Despite further increases in domestic production, this has inevitably left product shortages on the Russian market and pushed prices higher. This is confirmed by the unit price of imports which was up by over 60% in rouble terms, to ₽197 per kg, nearly twice the level in January-March 2013. However, given the depreciation of the rouble, the unit price in US dollar terms was down 9%. This helps to explain why suppliers such as Brazil and Chile have not diverted more pork to Russia, despite the lack of competition from other exporters.