Tuesday, 14 September 2021
By Duncan Wyatt
After having staged something of a recovery following the initial difficulties posed by Brexit, UK pig meat exports have since been struggling in more difficult market conditions.
UK exports of pig meat (not including offal) fell by 41% year on year in July, to 16,200 tonnes. Volumes to the EU fell by 43%, where the price of pigs has been falling rapidly in the face of market oversupply. EU production is higher this year than last, and although also higher, exports have not kept pace.
UK exports to the key market of China also fell, to 5,900 tonnes (-54% year on year). Wholesale pork prices there are now at levels not seen since before the outbreak of African Swine Fever. Although recovery in the Chinese herd appears to have stalled, and domestic production will probably be volatile in the future, current import demand is reported to be very weak.
In the year to July, the UK has exported 129,800 tonnes of pig meat, a drop of 22% year on year. This is despite a 7% increase in pig meat production in the same period, with lower imports largely making up the difference.
While not quite a last year’s levels, pig meat imports have been recovering more smoothly. This trend will have been helped by the reopening of the foodservice sector here, and heavily discounted prices for pork on the continent.
In July, the UK imported 58,100 tonnes of pig meat, 1% less than a year ago. This brings the year to date total to 387,800 tonnes, 11% lower than in 2020.
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