Italian demand still supporting French trade
In the first half of the year, French pork exports totalled 218,800 tonnes, up 19,300 (+10%) compared to the same period a year earlier.
Shipments to France’s main market, Italy, primarily drove the overall increase and were 30% (+12,600 tonnes) higher year-on-year. This probably reflects improving demand for pig meat in Italy.
The sharp growth in Italian shipments has counteracted declining trade with a number of non-EU destinations. Trade with China and Hong Kong fell by 12% (-3,200 tonnes) and shipments to the Ivory Coast, which had reached 2,800 tonnes in the first half of 2017, fell back to only 500 tonnes. Shipments to the Philippines also weakened, falling 9% (-900 tonnes) year-on-year.
Despite relative success in boosting trade within the European market this year, the French pig market has still struggled somewhat this year, compared with the EU market as a whole. The French pig price has fallen ahead of the EU average over the past 12 months. This perhaps reflects the fact other member states have been able to maintain third country trade flows to a greater extent, meaning the French market has been more exposed to plentiful EU supply levels. The average price of French pork exports was 12% lower year-on-year for January-June, which meant the value of the market was actually 4% below year earlier levels for the period, at $384.2 million. French domestic demand has also been declining, which will have equally depressed price levels.
French pork imports also increased by 10% for January to June, compared to the same period last year, reaching 154,200 tonnes. Spain remained the largest supplier, with an increase in market share to 73%, from 70% last year. Imports from most other suppliers also recorded small increases, the exception being Denmark; Danish shipments fell 12% from the high last year. Average import prices were 7% lower, reflecting falling prices across the EU this year, which meant the value of imports was 3% higher than year earlier levels, at €380.4 million.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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