UK pork imports fall back in September
Following two months of strong growth, UK imports of pork decreased in September by 7%, compared with a year earlier, to 28,700 tonnes, according to the latest figures from HMRC.
This is the lowest level of imports for September in over a decade. Nevertheless, for the first nine months of the year, UK pork imports were the largest amount over the same period of time since 2011, although only 1% up on last year. While volumes declined in September, the value of pork imports was also down by 21% on the year, at £47.4 million, as unit prices were sharply lower. This suggests that UK pig meat supplies were meeting more of domestic demand.
Denmark, the largest exporter of pork to the UK, sent 6% less in September compared to a year before, while Germany exported 9% less. Imports from the Netherlands were also down by 4% to 44,400 tonnes. The overall decline was mitigated by a sharp rise in imports of Spanish pork, which were up by more than half over the last three months, with a similar growth rate in September. Bacon imports also decreased in September, by 10%, with lower Danish shipments contributing to the fall. Once again, the value of trade for September declined, by 18% year on year. Processed and sausage imports did increase in September, with shipments from Germany and Ireland contributing.
In September, pork exports were slightly up compared to a year before at 17,900 tonnes, with shipments to Denmark, likely for re-export, and smaller markets such as the US and Poland being contributing factors. Exports to China, the UK’s largest market, decreased by 4% year on year, which may be an indication that its economy is easing. The value of exports decreased again in September, by 11% to £18.8 million, compared to a year earlier. However, this is the highest value of exports since October 2014, as shipments rise seasonally at this time of year. Pig offal exports had a very strong month and were up by 88% in September, with shipments to China more than doubling to a record 3,500 tonnes. Exports to Hong Kong were also up marginally, while sales to the rest of the EU rose by more than half.