EU shipments limited by lower Asian demand in December
Despite a little year-on-year growth in November, EU exports of fresh/frozen pork fell 9% below 2017 levels in December, according to the latest Eurostat figures. This left exports 4% below year earlier levels across the two months, at 370,500 tonnes.
Pork shipments to China declined 13% year-on-year in both November and December, but it remained the primary export market. Exports to Hong Kong during the months were also substantially below 2017 levels, down 63% and 71%, respectively. Meanwhile, shipments to South Korea during November were 24% higher than the year before, however during December volumes fell to 9% below 2017 levels. This was a change to the increasing trend recorded throughout 2018.
Despite the slow end to the year, fresh/frozen pork exports for 2018 as a whole were 2% higher than the year before, totalling 2.14 million tonnes. This puts 2018 as the second highest year for EU pork exports, behind 2016. South Korea was the key growth market and total exports to this country were 25% higher than 2017 at 276,000 tonnes. Conversely, there was a 6% (43,000 tonne) decrease in shipments to China, and the annual total for Hong Kong was down 47% (69,000 tonnes) from the year before. While volumes rose overall, the value of exports fell for the second year in a row, to €4.8 billion (-6% from 2017).
Pig offal exports from the EU totalled 112,000 tonnes in November, down 9% (11,000 tonnes) from 2017. Volumes decreased again in December to 76,000 tonnes, down 23% from the year before.
Exports were below 2017 levels for most of the year, with the annual total for 2018 of 1.22 million tonnes down 6% (84,000 tonnes) from 2017. The majority of this decrease was caused by a 38% (91,000 tonne) drop in exports to Hong Kong. This was offset slightly by gains in exports to Vietnam (+89%, 26,000 tonnes), the Ivory Coast (+42%, 10,000 tonnes) and the Philippines (+8%, 7,000 tonnes). With lower average prices, the value of offal exports during the year fell by 19% compared to 2017, to €1.4 billion.
Hannah Clarke, Trainee Analyst
Hannah.Clarke@ahdb.org.uk, 0247 693 5745