Value up, volume down for UK pork exports
The volume of UK pork exports continued to decline in November, following lower levels of domestic production for much of last year. However, the decline in the value of the pound has meant that the value of shipments remains up compared to a year earlier.
The continuing low value of Sterling meant that the average unit price for exports rose by 29%. This left the value of pig meat exports in the month up by a quarter at £24.2 million. The value of shipments to most major markets saw large increases compared to the previous year, however the value of shipments going to the US were lower.
While the value of pork exports rose, the volume of pork exported from the UK in November fell by 3% compared to the previous month, to 17 thousand tonnes.
The fall was driven by lower shipments to some major markets in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. Germany was the second largest market for UK pork in November 2015. However, a 10% fall in November 2016 meant that volumes going to Ireland overtook it. These declines are likely to be due to limited pork supplies in the UK following lower levels of production for much of the year, with production in November being 3% lower than in 2015.
The fall was despite double digit increases to the two largest markets for UK pork of China and Ireland, which were up by 25% and 12% respectively. Volumes going to China continue to rise despite higher volumes of pig meat that are now going to China from the US and Brazil. However, the rate of the increase has slowed in recent months.
Further growth has been seen in shipments of offal from the UK; volumes were up 9%, while the value increased 60% on November 2015. This was driven by higher volumes going to China and the Netherlands, while volumes going to Hong Kong fell.
Bacon exports were also positive during the month, increasing in volume by 25% relative to November 2015. Exports of sausages and other processed pig meats were also higher than 2015. Despite the rise in the volume of sausage exports, the value declined, while Bacon and processed pig meat export values rose.
Pork imports continued to be above year earlier levels during November, rising 25% to 45 thousand tonnes. This was largely driven by Danish shipments, which were up by 66% compared to 2015. Volumes coming from Germany were also up, rising by 16%. The weakness of the pound led unit prices to rise and the total value of these imports rose by over a half relative to 2015, reaching £88.3 million. The volume of all other pig meat products imported, with the exception of sausages, were also greater than a year earlier.
Mark Kozlowski - Senior analyst