Russia holding firm on pork import bans
In the first six months of the year, Russian pork imports amounted to 26,000 tonnes, down by almost 80% year-on-year. For Q2 alone the decline is closer to 90%, with just 8,300 tonnes imported during this period.
Restrictions against most suppliers remain in place, despite some perhaps misplaced optimism from Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) that trade might recommence by the end of August. However, since the start of the year, the tighter supply situation has been boosting Russian pig prices, and therefore improving producer profitability. Live pig prices peaked at a substantial 133RUB/kg (152p/kg) at the end of August, the highest figure since May 2014.
Considering Russia is targeting expansion in the pig industry, with the aim of becoming a net exporter, good profitability will be key to allow this. Therefore, is perhaps seems unlikely that Russia will permit higher import levels any time soon, even if technical difficulties have been resolved.
Russian exports made a strong start to the year, but growth has moderated somewhat in quarter two. Fresh/frozen pork exports were 16% higher than year earlier levels in Q2, at 6,900 tonnes, but this compares to a 32% growth rate in Q1. Offal exports also recorded slower growth in the second quarter (+7%) totalling 11,300 tonnes. Hong Kong is the primary market for Russian pig offal, but trade has slowed so far this year, likely reflecting poorer demand from neighbouring China. Trade with other destinations, namely Vietnam and Ukraine, has however increased enough to compensate. It will remain challenging for Russia to obtain significant growth in export volumes, with ASF-related restrictions preventing shipments to a number of destinations.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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