The UK imported 7% more pork in February than in the same month last year but also saw year-on-year exports rise by 10%, according to BPEX.
Based on new data from HMRC, the February trade saw increased amounts of imported pork arriving in the UK from Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium, a development which BPEX said “could be the first sign that imports may finally be starting to rise due to the large difference between UK and EU prices”.
“This is the biggest year-on-year increase since last April,” said BPEX, with Denmark being the largest supplier at approximately 25% of the total.
The unit price of imports was down 16% on the year, however, as a result of ample supplies across the continent, making the total value of imports 11% lower year-on-year.
On the export front, the HMRC figures showed UK pork exports up 10% in February, despite the strength of the pound against the euro.
“Much of this was due to a rise in shipments to China, which were up by a quarter as the Chinese took advantage of high supplies and low prices of pork from the EU,” said BPEX.
“Exports to the EU were mixed, with sales to Germany, the largest importer of UK pork, falling, while exports to Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark, presumably largely for re-export, all increasing despite the gap between prices in the UK and the EU remaining large.
“However, a fall in unit prices led the value of UK exports to decline by 8% to £14.7 million.”