Strong month for UK trade in August
UK imports and exports of pig meat both increased in August, compared with a year earlier, according to latest figures from HMRC.
Pork imports were 8% higher than in August 2014 at just over 30,000 tonnes, the highest figure for August since 2008. This is the third consecutive month with rising imports, although this follows two months when they were much lower. If this trend continues, it could put further pressure on UK pig prices, especially as the unit price was well down; the value of pork imports was 10% down on a year earlier, at £49.2 million.
Among the major pork suppliers, only the Netherlands sent less pork to the UK, with notable increases from Denmark, Belgium, both up 14%, and Spain, from where volumes were up by more than 50%. Bacon imports were also higher, up 4% year on year, with lower Danish shipments offset by higher volumes from all other major suppliers. Again, the value of the trade was 10% lower, however, at £41.9 million. It was a similar picture for processed imports, with higher volumes but much lower prices than in August 2014. Strong sausage shipments from Germany and the Netherlands contributed.
After a weaker month in July, UK pork exports were 4% up on the year in August, at 15,100 tonnes. Despite the weak euro, sales to the rest of the EU were up 9% on the same month last year, with rising shipments to Ireland, Germany and several smaller markets. Exports to China were also well above August 2014, although this was more than offset by lower shipments to Hong Kong. Although unit prices were lower, the fall wasn’t as great as for imports, so the value of exports was down just 3%, at £16.3 million. Although much smaller in volume, exports of bacon and sausages rose strongly in August. Offal exports were also much higher, with strong growth to both EU and non-EU markets. In particular, sales to China nearly doubled, only partly offset by lower shipments to Hong Kong.