Monday, 22 November 2021
By Bethan Wilkins
UK pig meat exports (including offal) in September dropped back to the lowest level since January, at 24,900 tonnes.
Looking at fresh/frozen pork specifically, volumes totalled 14,200 tonnes, nearly 40% behind year earlier levels. A 45% decline in exports to China (totalling 5,100 tonnes), influenced by poor demand there, was only part of the explanation. A fall in shipments to a range of other markets was also recorded, particularly within the EU. Plentiful supplies within Europe have likely decreased demand for UK exports, particularly with UK pig prices tracking well above their EU counterpart.
At 8,600 tonnes, September offal exports fared better. Although still the lowest volume since January, this was 14% above the level last year. The increase was primarily due to increased shipments to EU member states (+31% to 3,200 tonnes), notably the Netherlands and Belgium. Shipments to China were 7% lower than last September at 3,700 tonnes.
In September, UK imports of pig meat products remained subdued, as has been the case throughout 2021. Only bacon volumes showed an increase compared to year-earlier levels.
Supplies have been plentiful across the EU, but it seems the UK market has been relatively resistant to the product on offer there. Volumes were down from most of the UK’s major suppliers. Belgium, though generally a smaller supplier, was the exception with volumes shipped totalling 4,400 tonnes, nearly three-times the level last September. This growth came from sausages, and to a lesser extent fresh pork.
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