Strong start to 2014 EU pork exports

EU pork exports strengthened in January, with figures showing a 12% increase compared with the same month in 2013.

At 130,900 tonnes, exports in the first month of the year were 14,500 tonnes higher than a year earlier, although only marginally higher than January 2012. The total value of fresh and frozen pork exports in January amounted to £250 million, up 9% year-on-year.

The increased volumes were largely destined for Asian markets, as China (exports up 4%) continued to play a leading role among EU export markets. Similarly, Japan and South Korea picked up 43% and 80% more EU pork in comparison with a year earlier, partly due to less competition from US supplies.

BPEX’s Pig Market Weekly reports that the large increase in demand from South Korea also reflects a higher import requirement, given recent cut backs in domestic production.

These increases were offset by a 24% decline in demand from Russia. The share of EU supplies going to Russia has now halved from the level of January 2011, partly the result of higher domestic production in the country.

It’s worth noting that these figures largely pre-date the Russian ban on EU pork, which will be reflected in the February data. But what’s clear is that until the ban Russia was an important export market taking 16,800 tonnes in January (13% of total exports).

At 87,000 tonnes, pig offal exports in January were down by 1% compared with the previous year. There was a 4% rise in demand from the Chinese market, but this was offset by declines from other key buyers.

In particular, supplies to Hong Kong and Russia were down by 3% and 39% respectively.

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