Value of UK exports grows, despite falling volumes
The value of pork exported from the UK during September was up 16% on the year, reaching £21.7 million. This increase occurred despite volume being down 9%, at 16.4 thousand tonnes. A 26% rise in average unit prices supported total export value, aided by the weak the pound which shielded most importing nations from the price rise; in euro terms the price was only up 7%, for example.
Significantly, shipments to China during September showed no growth on the same period in 2015 - the first month for a year with no expansion in Chinese shipments. The closely related Hong Kong market also showed a significant 37% decline in volume, while exports to Denmark and the Netherlands, likely for re-export, were back 20% and 22% respectively. Increasing competition from Brazil and the US, coupled with the beginnings of recovery in Chinese pork production, are likely hindering further growth in this market. Offal exports were also down 14% on the year during September, as shipments to China fell back. A decline in UK production will also be limiting supplies available for export.
Conversely, there was a 12% rise in UK pork exported to Germany during September. This likely reflects the increase in sow slaughterings seen during the month, alongside declining German production. Exports of processed products during September also countered the general declining trend. Ireland drove this increase, importing almost 400 tonnes (50%) more than during September 2015. Export volumes of sausages were likewise elevated. This movement was driven by Spanish shipments, in addition to strong sales to a number of smaller markets. Increased competitiveness as a result of the weak pound likely influenced these trends.
Imports of pork continued the trend seen in recent months, rising by 26% on September last year to 38.5 thousand tonnes. This was again driven by Danish imports almost doubling and now accounting for almost 40% of total imports. German volumes were also up, by 28% on the year. The weak pound and sharply rising unit prices meant the value of these imports was up well ahead of volume, rising 47% on 2015 to £73.7 million. The amount of other pig meat products imported was slightly lower than a year earlier, although higher unit prices meant that they were up in value terms.
Bethan Wilkins, Trainee Analyst
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