EU pig meat exports move lower

Monday, 8 November 2021

By Bethan Wilkins

In July, EU pig meat exports moved clearly below the level a year earlier for the first time since December 2018, totalling 421,000 tonnes (including offal). Nonetheless, shipments for the first seven months of the year overall were still 10% higher year on year, at 3.5 million tonnes.

Looking at fresh/frozen pork alone, volumes were 17% below a year earlier in July, at 259,000 tonnes. Exports to China were again lower, now by a substantial 43% to total 105,000 tonnes. There are no signs of these shipments increasing imminently, although some increase in Chinese import demand may be seen next year.

Shipments to other Far Eastern markets were higher than July 2020, particularly volumes to Japan (+39%) and the Philippines (+103%). The EU has also been shipping a few thousand tonnes of pork to Chile each month since December 2020, a market that was previously of negligible importance. Nonetheless, these developments were not enough to offset the decline in volumes going to China.

Monthly EU pig meat export volumes, 2020, 2021 and 5-year average

EU pig offal exports were also 11% below a year earlier in July, at 103,000 tonnes. There were obvious declines in shipments to both Hong Kong (-82% to 2,200 tonnes) and China (-9% to 60,200 tonnes).

The EU also exports a range of bacon, hams, and sausages, primarily to the UK. Shipments of these products to the UK bucked the overall trend and were 9% higher than last year, totalling just under 40,000 tonnes. Despite this, overall shipments of pig meat products to the UK were similar to a year earlier, due to a 9% decline in shipments of fresh/frozen pork.

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