UK pork imports increased to 31,200t in December last year, which was a 12% rise in volumes compared with the same month in 2012.
BPEX’s Pig Market Weekly speculates that this may be the result of UK buyers taking advantage of the large gap between EU and UK prices, although it’s too early to say whether this has been sustained into the New Year.
However, it also notes that December 2012 imports were particularly low and the increase may just be a return to more normal import levels.
A large part of the overall increase can be attributed to Danish supplies, which rose by 22% compared with a year earlier – although they were still well below 2011 levels, having fallen very sharply in December 2012.
Other key suppliers also recorded increases, including Germany (up 9%) and the Netherlands (up 13%).
Bacon imports also increased in December 2013, albeit at a slower rate of 5%. The Danes gained further importance at the expense of lower bacon trade with the Netherlands. Sausage imports in December decreased 3% on the year and other processed shipments were down by 7%.
UK pork exports, however, increased by 2% to 13,300t in December 2013 compared with a year earlier, continuing the growth recorded throughout the year.
Export demand was dampened by a 9% decline in supplies to Germany, which meant that the Netherlands became the leading market, with a 33% increase in shipments taken.
The Chinese market picked up 3% more product than a year before, but lower sales to Hong Kong meant that the region took less UK pork overall.
Offal exports declined by more than three quarters in December, compared with the previous year. This was largely a result of lower demand from the Continent, particularly from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, although shipments to Greater China were also lower.