Increase in production supports Irish pig meat exports
During the first quarter of 2015, Ireland exported 37,000 tonnes of pork. This was a 12% increase on 2014, bringing in €80.7 million.
However, the average export price was down 5%, reflecting the weak EU pig meat market. The increase in exports this quarter can be mainly attributed to production being up 13%, given more pigs on farms and heavier carcase weights. The increased production also drove Ireland’s imports down by 38%. The EU increased its share of Irish exports to 65%. The UK continued to be the main recipient, taking nearly 40% of total exports and volumes were 13% more than the same period in 2014. Irish pig prices were considerably cheaper than UK pig prices, with a difference of €41 per 100kg in the first quarter of 2015, which may explain the increase in UK imports from Ireland.
Irish export volumes to the EU in total were up 19% whilst non-EU trade was only up 2%. This was despite trade with the United States increasing by 59%, becoming the second largest recipient outside the EU, with China remaining the largest. Ireland also took advantage of lower South Korean production, leading to a doubling of exports. The Russian import ban and a decrease of 93% in shipments to Japan largely offset gains elsewhere.
Total pig offal exports increased 57% at 6,100 tonnes, primarily to China with over 50% of the total volumes. Hong Kong and the Philippines, the next two main export markets, also took more compared with the same period last year.