EU pork exporters have been the “major beneficiaries” of a growth in demand from Japan, securing a 40% year-on-year trade increase to the country in the first three months of this year, according to AHDB Pork.
While the pork world’s attention has been on China in recent months, Japan has quietly increased its pork imports in the first three months of the year by over 20%, compared with the same period last year.
“At 209,000 tonnes, its purchases were the highest for this time of year in records back to 1994, said AHDB Pork, adding that EU exporters have benefitted substantially, increasing the EU’s share of the Japanese market to 37%, up from 32% in January-March 2015.”
With the increase in imports allowing stock levels to rebuild in Japan, however, AHDB Pork’s said there is now a “suggestion” that import demand may ease off as 2016 progresses.
“There are already signs of this happening, with annual growth slowing from 36% in January to just 10% in March,” it said.
Nevertheless, with demand still reasonable and domestic production only recovering slowly following 2014’s PEDv outbreak, imports are forecast to maintain some growth for the year as a whole, albeit at a slower rate than in the first quarter.