Further falls in UK pork exports as supplies remain tight
UK exports of fresh/frozen pork in February fell by 11% on the year at 15,900 tonnes. However, increased unit prices led to the value of exports increasing by 15% year on year to £21.1 million.
The majority of the volume decrease came from a 32% reduction in shipments to Germany. Nevertheless, at 2,600 tonnes, the volume exported to Germany is back to more typical levels for the month of February. As a large proportion of UK pork shipped to Germany is sow meat, a slowdown in domestic sow slaughterings over the past few months is likely to be a contributing factor, despite the firmer German sow market.
Pork exports to other major destinations also declined in February, no doubt partly attributed to a tightening in domestic pork supplies, with UK production down 9% on February last year. Nevertheless, shipments of pork to the UK’s now largest destination China, were once again up on the year in February by 21% to 3,400 tonnes. The value of trade was up 30% given the smaller price rise compared with other UK markets.
UK exports of offal in February were still down on last year in spite of stable trade with non-EU markets. Shipments of sausages and processed pork products were also down on last year while bacon shipments were up.
Imports of fresh/frozen pork increased once again on the year in February, by 24%, at 35,800 tonnes. Similar to recent months, a reported increase of 57% in Danish shipments to the UK is the main driver behind the overall increase. Doubts remain over the validity of this rise, as Danish export figures have not been portraying the same picture – click here to read more.
However, volumes from Germany, Spain and Ireland have also increased, which would still suggest greater imports of pork in February this year. The tight domestic supply situation is likely to be a driver behind the overall rise.
Shipments of bacon to the UK were down on the year in February with reductions for all major suppliers and sausage volumes were also lower. However, processed pork and offal imports were up.
Millie Askew, Analyst
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