Increased demand from Asian markets helped UK pigmeat exports to grow by 3% on the year in September, countering a reduction in exports to other EU member states, according to BPEX.
Pork imports into the UK in September also increased by 3% on the year, however, registering the largest monthly increase since April this year. This was due to a combination of “somewhat higher supplies” on the continent and a strengthening pound, all of which put further pressure on prices, making EU pork more attractive on the UK market.
“Despite the gap between EU and UK pig prices reaching unprecedented levels, however, the increase in imports remains modest,” said BPEX. “Imports of German pork declined by 29% compared with the same month last year, although this was offset by increases from most other suppliers.”
This left the value of pork imports in September at £58.8 million, down 12% on a year earlier, as a result of subdued import prices.
On the export front, BPEX pointed out that while two thirds of UK pork exports currently go into the rest of the EU, this is lower than in 2013 when nearly three-quarters was shipped to the continent.
The more positive side of the export story, however, is that increased demand from Asian markets, particularly from China, saw exports to this market rise by a quarter in the latest month.
“The value of UK pork exports was marginally higher than last September, at £21.2 million, despite a slightly lower average price,” said BPEX.