Pork imports into South Korea continue to fall

Thursday, 29 October 2020

By Bronwyn Magee

Imports of fresh/frozen pork into South Korea declined in the year to September. Shipments were down 20% when compared to the same period in 2019, standing at 328,000 tonnes.

Imports from all major supplies (the US, Germany, Spain and Canada) fell on the year to September. Imports from the US dropped back 11% to total 126,000 tonnes, while German imports declined by 17%, totalling 70,000 tonnes.

This decline represents falling domestic demand, a result of retail pork prices continuing to trend high. This is alongside further disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has significantly impacted on foodservice demand, as highlighted earlier in the year. Despite this, the latest Rabobank report suggests consumption could increase in Q4 due to seasonal demand. However, levels are expected to remain well below those achieved a year ago due to continued high prices and economic weakness.

South Korea has reported new cases of ASF in its domestic pig population in recent weeks, with two farms infected. These are the first cases of ASF reported in domestic pigs since October 2019 and will ultimately compromise South Korea’s ASF recovery plans. Depending on how the situation is managed, this may impact production and import requirements in coming months. This will be an interesting watch point over the coming weeks.

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