Volume of pork traded within the EU increases
The volume of fresh/frozen pork traded between EU countries increased in the first half of 2018, compared with year earlier levels, according to the latest Eurostat figures.
There is some discrepancy between the import and export data, however on average it seems shipments were up around 4% on the year. This increase in trade is not surprising given the 3% rise in EU pig meat production in the first half of this year, while export volumes outside of the EU have remained stable.
Over 80% of the volume traded originated from the six leading exporters. Germany continued to dominate, accounting for 23% of shipments, although the volume shipped was 2% less than in 2017. This fall reflects tighter supplies in Germany this year, particularly in the second quarter when production declined 2% year-on-year. Conversely, Spain and Denmark, ranked second and third, both increased exports by 7%, reflecting higher production from these nations.
Imports of pork are more evenly distributed across the member states than exports. Italy remained the largest importer, receiving 18% of the total volume traded, up 7.5% on last year. The second and third largest importers, Germany and Poland, also recorded year-on-year increases during this period. The greatest percentage increase in imports of EU pork was recorded by Ireland, increasing by almost 60% to 31,000 tonnes. Conversely, the UK recorded a decline in imports; it was the only country of the top 6 importers to record a decrease.
In the latter half of this year, continued growth in EU production might drive further increases in trade flows within Europe. However, demand from third countries, and in particular China, will be key. The presence of African Swine Fever in China has the potential to ultimately increase Chinese demand for imported product, and with the US still currently disadvantaged by high import tariffs, the EU could be a key source for this product. Nonetheless, the size of this opportunity, and the extent to which Europe can capitalise on it, remains to be seen.
Amey Brassington, Trainee Analyst
Amey.Brassington@ahdb.org.uk, 0247 693 5743