UK pig meat trade- both imports and exports decline in June
HMRC reported fresh/frozen pork exports fell 7% year-on-year in June, to total 16,700 tonnes. The fall in pork exports was coupled with a slight 2% decline in average prices, to average £1.35/kg, meaning value fell by 9% on the year to £22.6 million.
The overall decline was driven by falling export volumes to a number of key destinations. Shipments to China and Hong Kong both recorded notable declines, with exports down 19% (-630 tonnes) and 58% (-550 tonnes) respectively. Trade with Denmark and the Netherlands was also reported to be considerably lower than in June 2017, falling by 1,140 tonnes altogether. Product shipped to these destinations is likely often re-exported.
Nonetheless, there were areas of the pork export market that grew in June, despite the overall fall. Shipments to Ireland totalled 3,300 tonnes, a 9% increase on the year, while deliveries of fresh/frozen pork to Germany increased by 10% to total 3,100 tonnes. Pork exports to the high value US market also increased by 36% (+208 tonnes), to total 790 tonnes for June 2018. A number of smaller markets recorded a strong positive performance during the month too, including Poland (+290 tonnes) and Japan (+300 tonnes).
Exports of pig offal increased by 22% year on year to total 7,100 tonnes in June 2018. However, a sharp drop of 25% in the average price, to £0.81/kg, resulted in export value for the period declining by 9% to total £5.8 million. Offal exports to China, which accounted for nearly half of offal export volumes in June, increased by 55% to total 3,500 tonnes. Traditionally, the US is the largest pig offal supplier to China. The current tariffs imposed on US pig meat products will have therefore reduced competition between suppliers in the Chinese marketplace for these products in particular, providing an opportunity for UK exporters.
According to HMRC, UK imports of fresh/frozen pork remained largely unchanged in June 2018, compared to the previous year, and totalled 40,900 tonnes. There have been developments in where the shipments originated from, however. Increased imports from Germany (+1,300 tonnes), Belgium (+670 tonnes) and Denmark (+360 tonnes) have offset notable declines from Spain (-940 tonnes) and the Netherlands (-670 tonnes). Average import prices fell 12% on year earlier levels in the month to £1.89/kg; as a result the value of imports fell correspondingly to total £77.4 million.
Tom Forshaw, Analyst
Tom.Forshaw@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8647