Photo of UK pork exports rise in 2019 while imports fall

Bethan Wilkins


AHDB Pork Market Intelligence


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UK pork exports rise in 2019 while imports fall

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Latest trade data from HMRC shows UK fresh/frozen pork exports in 2019 rose by 12% on the year, while imports were down 2%.


UK pork exports increased again in December 2019 to 17,600 tonnes, up 1,500 tonnes (9%) from the same month in 2018.

Shipments to China during December followed the trend of recent months, doubling in size year-on-year to total 7,400 tonnes. This was, however, down from the highs of the previous month. Shipments to the EU overall were down on the year, although there were mixed movements for individual markets.

Exports of fresh/frozen pork for 2019 reached just over 244,400 tonnes, up 12% on 2018.

As in December, shipments to China for the full year of 2019 doubled on the year before, totalling 81,400 tonnes. Exports to the Netherlands also grew on the year by 58%, potentially as some UK products are exported on from there to other destinations.

Shipments to other EU countries like Ireland and Germany remained flat in comparison. Overall, shipments to the EU were down 6% from 2018.


Having risen throughout the year, average export prices flattened off during December. Overall fresh/frozen pork prices averaged £1.93/kg for the month, similar to November but still up 48p (+33%) from December 2018. Export prices to China were a little lower than the previous month, also averaging £1.93/kg. This was 74p (+62%) up from December 2018.


UK imports of fresh/frozen pork in December stayed relatively stable year-on-year, rising by just 0.2% to 36,300 tonnes. However, there were noticeable declines in imports of other pig meat products, meaning total pig meat imports were down 8% overall.

This brought fresh/frozen pork imports for the full year to 447,800 tonnes, down 2% from 2018. Again, larger declines were seen for further processed products, meaning total pig meat imports were back 7% for the year overall.

Import prices rose throughout 2019, with the December average for fresh/frozen pork up 50p/kg on the year at £2.40/kg.