EU exports decline in March
The EU exported 190,300 tonnes of pork in March, 8% less than last year, according to the latest data from Eurostat. Average prices also fell by 7%, and so the fall in the value of exports was down by 15% on year earlier levels, at €432 million.
Shipments to China fell by 11,000 tonnes compared to year earlier levels, leaving year to date volumes down by 27,000 tonnes. This comes at a time when production across the continent is increasing, and in the past China has proven to be a valuable outlet for excess supply. However, pork prices in China are themselves challenged at the moment as domestic demand struggles to keep pace with a rapid expansion in production. The ability of the Chinese market to absorb European volumes is likely to be limited for some time to come. Exports to Hong Kong were also 10,000 tonnes less in March comparted with 2017.
Elsewhere in Asia the picture continued to be more positive. EU exports to Japan, the Philippines and South Korea in particular all gained ground. Against a background of increasing production in its own market, demand from the US was strong. Volumes increased 25% (+3,000 tonnes) on year earlier levels to 13,700 tonnes.
Offal exports were also lower in March 2018 compared with the previous year. At 107,000 tonnes, volumes were 8% less than year earlier levels, and again, lower average unit prices reduced the value of the trade by 22% at €126 million. The pattern of trade echoed that of the pork market, with China and Hong Kong driving the change. Although in percentage terms the increase in trade to the Philippines was impressive, modest volumes limited its impact overall.
Duncan Wyatt, Lead Analyst
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