China demand continues to lift UK pork exports

UK exports of pig meat continued to grow in July, driven by increased demand from China, with an 12% increase year on year compared to 2018.

The July figure of 30,000 tonnes is the highest volume for this month since 2016, while the total value of the trade rose 19%, to £46.9 million. Pig offal exports increased by 15% (+1,000 tonnes) compared to the previous year.

The July figures also show UK pork exports are up 11% in the first seven months of the year, totalling 214,000 tonnes.

“This increase in exports is due to increased demand from China, which continues to be the largest destination for UK pig offal exports,” AHDB trainee analyst Charlie Reeve said.

Bacon exports have gone down compared to July 2018 and are now lower in the year to date, although bacon only accounted for 5% of total pork exports in July 2019.

Meanwhile, imports of fresh/frozen pork dropped by 22% (-20,100 tonnes) year on year in July, following a small increase on the previous month (+600 tonnes). Imports of bacon decreased by 10% (-1,700 tonnes) in July 2019 compared the previous year.

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Processed pork saw the largest decline in imports reducing by 57% (11,000 tonnes) compared to July 2018. The HMRC data shows a significant decrease in the amount of processed hams and shoulders imported from Ireland (-8,000 tonnes). However, volumes in July last year were unusually large. Compared to the 5-year average for July, processed pork imports from Ireland were down 37% (-1,900 tonnes).

The total value of UK pig meat (including offal) imports during July was £196.1 million, down almost 5% year-on-year.

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.