Spanish pork exports stride ahead

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Following the long-term trend, Spanish pork exports continued to grow in the first four months of 2018, reaching 537,800 tonnes.

This was 8% up on a year earlier, and more than double the volume recorded a decade ago. Sausage exports were also 8% (+1,700 tonnes) higher on the year in the first four months of 2018, and bacon shipments were up 20% (+3,400 tonnes).

Growth is primarily being driven by rising domestic production, which increased 6% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018 to total 1.2 million tonnes. The Spanish consumer market does also seem to have picked up slightly so far this year, according to figures from GlobalData. This likely follows from the recent economic recovery which has boosted consumer spending power. Nonetheless, much of the additional output will have been utilised by the export markets. Growth in export volumes has been facilitated by lower average unit prices, which declined 7% on the year for fresh/frozen pork in January-April. This meant the value of these exports remained virtually unchanged on a year earlier, at €1.17 billion.

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Shipments of pork to the EU in particular were 9% (+28,300 tonnes) higher year-on-year. This was the primary driver of the overall growth, and meant the EU’s share of trade increased to 63%, from 62% last year. Particularly strong sales were recorded to the Czech Republic, which almost doubled (+14,400 tonnes) and Portugal, which were up by a third (+9,000 tonnes). Outside the EU, South Korea also recorded strong growth (+9,000 tonnes), although shipments to China, formerly the largest buyer, were down 8% (-7,000 tonnes). While in general most countries increased their purchases of Spanish pork, there were a few other notable exceptions. The Netherlands took less than half of the volumes of a year before (-4,400 tonnes) and shipments to Germany were down 20% (-3,000 tonnes) year-on-year.

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Bethan Wilkins, Analyst

bethan.wilkins@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8757