EU export growth still led by China

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

By Bethan Wilkins

EU fresh/frozen pork exports in August reached 294,500 tonnes. This was an increase of 34% year-on-year. Growth was almost entirely driven by another strong performance in the leading market, China, where volumes roughly doubled compared to August 2019. The EU continues to help fill the gap left by China’s African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak, which has been constraining production volumes.

Since August, there has been more disruption to EU pork exports to China, particularly due to the ban on German shipments now ASF has also been found within their wild boar herd. Chinese pork wholesale prices have also been falling, with increasing evidence to suggest China’s pig herd is now starting to rebuild. All this might mean export prospects start to fall off in the coming months, despite the ongoing strength still visible in August.

Most other major markets, including the UK and Japan, imported less EU pork than a year earlier. The fall in exports to the UK continued a trend that has generally been in place throughout 2020, with volumes down 12% for the year to date.

Total EU fresh/frozen pork exports in the first eight months of this year reached 2.35 million tonnes, up 28% from the same period in 2019. The value of these supplies increased even further to €6.4 billion.

In contrast, pig offal exports declined by 4% compared with August 2019. At 103,700 tonnes, this was still 5% above the same month in 2018 though. The year-on-year reduction was influenced by a 7% decline in purchases by the Chinese market, though partially counteracting this, supplies to Hong Kong were up by 37%. Together these two markets accounted for 69% of the overall EU offal export trade.

Exports to the fourth-largest market, Vietnam, also fell by nearly 40% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the Ivory Coast continued to emerge as a key market, accounting for over 4% of shipments in August.

Bethan Wilkins

Senior Analyst - Red Meat

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