Pork exports drop below 2016 levels in June
Following year-on-year growth during the previous month, UK pork exports faltered during June. Fresh/frozen pork shipments during the month were down 5% on a year earlier at 17.5 thousand tonnes.
Limited availability of exportable supplies likely continued to impact exports, with UK pig meat production during the month down 2% on June 2016. Growth in pork exports has also been deterred by slower demand from China, with shipments 15% lower than in June 2016 (read more about Chinese demand here). Meanwhile, trade with the EU showed a smaller decline of 2% on the year in June. Falling shipments to Ireland and Denmark were partially countered by increases in exports to the Netherlands and Germany.
Nonetheless, a rise in the average unit price meant that the value of UK pork exports was still 11% higher than in June 2016, at £24.5 million. A decline in the value of shipments to China and fewer high value cuts going to the US led to the EU’s share of the UK pork export market value returning to 70%. It had previously dropped to nearer 60% in 2016.
Offal shipments during June were also 4% lower year-on-year, totalling 5.7 thousand tonnes. A 30% decline in shipments to China, the UK’s primary export destination, drove the overall decline. However, the impact of this was lessened by significant increases in shipments to both Hong Kong (+64%) and the Philippines (+112%).
Conversely, exports of other pig meat products such as bacon, sausages and processed grew strongly during June, compared to both the previous month and June 2016. However, there are some doubts surrounding these figures, given that the increases were driven by unusually large shipments to Denmark and the Netherlands during the month.
Imports of fresh/frozen pork showed the first year-on-year decline since March 2016 during June, falling by 2% to 40.1 thousand tonnes. This was driven by a 21% decline in imports from Denmark, perhaps suggesting these figures could be moving closer in line with reality. However, notable growth continued from other key suppliers. Market intelligence suggests pig meat imports, especially from Denmark, may have been overstated for around a year. Read more about this in the latest outlook review.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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