Thursday, 21 May 2020
By Bethan Wilkins
EU fresh/frozen pork exports were up again in March, with shipments to non-EU markets amounting to 268,500 tonnes (+7% year-on-year). Note that EU trade data no longer includes the UK as a member state. Figures for the first quarter overall show a stronger growth trend, with 114,600 tonnes more pork shipped compared with the same period in 2019 (+16% year-on-year).
In March alone, China drove the overall growth once again, taking nearly twice as much EU product as a year earlier.
A sharp drop in shipments to the UK limited the increase. Eurostat figures suggest a 75% drop in trade with the UK, compared with the month last year. UK HMRC figures recorded a 24% decline annual decline in fresh/frozen pork imports during the month. Though still large, this suggests the drop in the EU figures is rather overstated. However, to some extent, it could also be that shipments from the EU at the end of March, which would not arrive in the UK until April, particularly declined.
Lockdown measures introduced here, and in Europe, cut foodservice demand and disrupted supply chains. UK pork production was also up over 10% on the year during March, which may have eased demand for imported product somewhat.
As we have previously noted, exports to South Korea were also lower.
Pig offal exports in March also remained in growth, as 2% more was supplies to non-EU countries than in March 2019. The volume shipped to China increased by 22%, meaning its market share increased from 58% to 69%. On the other hand, Hong Kong (-34%), the Philippines (-33%), the UK (-90%) and South Korea (-69%) all imported less pig offal from the EU.
The first quarter figure overall showed a larger rise for pig offal exports, with 5% more traded compared with the same period in 2019.