EU exports surge in March
Pork exports from the EU during March were up 19% on a year earlier, at 139,000 tonnes.
While shipments in March 2014 were down in the wake of the Russian ban, the latest figure is also higher than the same month in earlier years. Indeed, it is the highest March figure in records back to 2002. As in most recent months, strong sales to Asia and Oceania have driven the increase, with China, South Korea and Australia among the major growth markets. The weak euro has ensured that EU pork remains competitive on these markets as demand strengthens. This means that, although prices were 19% lower in US dollar terms (the dollar being the currency of international trade), they were actually 4% up in euros. That meant that the value of exports rose by nearly a quarter year on year, to €319 million.
Offal exports were equally strong in March, with a 29% year-on-year rise, to 106,800 tonnes. China and Korea were again key growth markets, with shipments to the latter more than doubling. There were also good sales to a range of smaller markets in Asia and Africa. Again, unit values were higher in euro terms, increasing the value of exports by 37% to €123 million. Even pig fat, for which Russia was previously the dominant buyer, recorded increased shipments in March, although they will still only around half their level in March 2013. However, unit prices fell further and were only around half of their level before the Russian ban.