UK pork exports in August were 3% down on last year’s figures at 14,600 tonnes, recording the first year-on-year decline since February this year, according to BPEX.
“The drop was largely due to lower shipments to Ireland and Germany, although they remained the two largest markets during the month,” said BPEX. “The drop in exports to Germany was largely due to lower sow slaughterings on the back of falling cull prices.”
Most smaller EU markets took more UK pork, however, as did non-EU buyers. Shipments to third countries were up by 21%, in fact, with a big growth in exports being recorded to the Philippines, Japan and South Africa.
In addition, strong sales to China and Hong Kong meant that offal exports were up by more than half compared with last August, despite less being sent to the rest of the EU.
UK imports were also lower in August than a year earlier, with this picture true for all the main pigmeat categories.
“This was despite prices being significantly lower than last year, mainly due to the strengthening of the pound against the euro,” said BPEX, adding that despite the average price of pork imports, at £1,970 a tonne, being 9% lower than in August 2013, total volumes still declined by 2%.
“A sharp fall in purchases from Germany was the main reason for the drop, with other major suppliers sending more pork to the UK. Overall, it was a similar story for bacon, with 4% less entering the UK than a year before, despite a 6% drop in prices. Germany again bucked the trend of other suppliers but this time its shipments rose, partly offsetting falls from Denmark and the Netherlands.”
In was a similar pattern for processed products, where increased imports from Germany failed to fully offset lower purchases from elsewhere. Sausage imports were also down overall but with trends varying between suppliers.