Another slow month for EU exports

The slowdown in EU pork exports continued in June, with volumes down 25% year-on-year at 158,300 tonnes.

According to analysis by AHDB Pork, this equated to almost 80,000 tonnes less than the month 2016, and was also almost 6,000 tonnes lower than in May this year. Despite higher average export prices, influenced by the elevated EU pig price, the value of these shipments was 21% lower than in June last year, at €404.9 million.

As has been the case for much of 2017, volume sales to China were the primary driver behind the overall decline, falling 59% year-on-year in June. This meant China’s share of the EU pork export market declined to 31%, 20 percentage points less than a year earlier. Sales to Hong Kong were also notably slower (-40%) than in June 2016 while shipments to Japan showed a more modest decline (-4%).

While shipments fell to the two major markets, growth in pork exports to smaller players was reported, which somewhat countered the overall decline.  South Korea took 17% more EU pork than a year earlier in June, while shipments to the US and the Philippines grew 8% and 34% respectively.

These latest figures mean that for the first half of 2017, EU pork export volumes totalled 1.0 million tonnes, 14% lower than during this period last year. Higher prices in 2017 meant the value of the market remained just above year earlier levels at €2.6 billion; €22 million more than in 2016.

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In contrast to the previous month, pig offal exports fared little better than pork during June, with volumes down 13% year-on-year at 104,200 tonnes. This decline was entirely driven by slower Chinese sales. Meanwhile, Hong Kong remained stable on the year and the smaller Asian markets including the Philippines, South Korea and Japan, reported growth. Higher unit prices softened the year-on-year decline in value terms to 10%, standing at €141.0 million.

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