EU exports increase in February
The latest data from Eurostat indicates that EU fresh/frozen pork exports grew by 3% on year earlier levels in February 2018, totalling 183,100 tonnes.
However, the average unit price was 9% lower than the previous year which more than compensated for the greater export volumes. As a result, the value of exports was 6% behind year earlier levels at €409 million.
Asia remains the main destination for EU pork exports. Despite a decline in Chinese import demand, exports to China returned to growth in February, recording a 3% year-on-year increase. Although, at 61,400 tonnes, shipments were still slightly lower than in February 2016. Exports to other Asian markets recorded more significant gains. Most notably, shipments of European pork to South Korea increased by 21% (+4,100 tonnes). Demand from the US was also strong with export volumes increasing by 13% on year earlier levels to 10,700 tonnes. In contrast, exports to Hong Kong reduced by 40% (-4,800 tonnes) compared to the previous year.
Nonetheless, taking account of the decline in EU pork exports in January, shipments for the year to date were relatively steady on 2017, increasing by just 1,800 tonnes (0.5%). This reflects the 22% year-on-year decline in exports to China recorded in the previous month.
Offal exports increased by 13% in February 2018 compared with the previous year, totalling 113,000 tonnes. However, when combined with the lower average unit price, the growth in value which was reduced to 3% above year earlier levels at €138 million. The main growth driver was a recovery in deliveries to China, which increased 18% (+9,500 tonnes), on the year. Strong growth in exports to the Philippines (+15%, 1,000 tonnes) and South Korea (+55%, 1,600 tonnes) also contributed to the increase. However, despite a good performance in February, for the year to date EU pig offal exports were still down 1% on 2017. This reflects an 18% annual decline in shipments to China during the previous month. With China receiving over half of EU offal exports, Chinese demand is key to sustaining and growing export volumes.
Abigail Schofeild, Trainee Analyst
Abigail.Schofield@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8610