The Q1 EU pig meat production figures show a decline of 5% year-on-year, as EU pig meat producers continue to struggle with the cost of production versus an under par pig price.
In March 2022, the EU’s pig meat production totalled two million tonnes; a decline of 7% compared to March of 2021, which brings the total EU production figure down 5% year-on-year, to 5.85 million tonnes in the year’s first quarter.
With that, it appears that the April forecast by the European Commission, which predicted a 3% decline in EU pig meat production, may not have accurately foreseen the gravity of the industry’s current struggles. Instead, AHDB says that we may all be facing a reality where production numbers contract by far more than 3%.
The EU production decline has not been helped by the reduced export demand to China, causing a sharp fall in the EU’s overall export volumes. In Q1, EU exports fell by 28% to 923,000 tonnes of pig meat (excluding offal). Within this, exports to China fell by 72%, constituting 21% of export volumes – which has also declined from more than half, which it was in Q1 of 2021.
However, EU export demand has increased in other markets, such as Japan, South Korea, the US and Australia, as the bloc diversifies away from the Chinese trade.
The unit price of exports rose by 7% year-on-year, to €2.91/kg, meaning that the sector’s overall value fell by 23%, to €2.7 billion in Q1. But, the decline in exports outweighed the decline in production in Q1, so it appears that more EU pork continues to be consumed at home.
Nonetheless, in many countries within the EU, production continues to decline. Germany saw a Q1 decline of 12% (-155,000 tonnes); Poland also saw a decline of 12% (-63,000 tonnes); followed by Belgium with a 9% decrease (-26,000); and Italy with an 8% fall (-27,000 tonnes).
Spain continues to buck the EU trends by upping its Q1 production figures by 4%, for a production increase of 52,000 tonnes.