EU Pig Meat Exports Up

by 5m Editor
11 July 2011, at 11:22am

EU - Pig meat exports offer ray of light, according to David Owens from the Meat Division of Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.

While the European and domestic pig meat markets remain difficult, pig prices and demand in many international markets have increased dramatically over the past 18 months. In Euro terms, pig prices have increased strongly in exporting countries such as the US, Canada and Brazil on the back of a rising global demand for pork and the economic recovery of many of the larger importing nations such as Russia and Japan. This, combined with a depreciation of the Euro against the US dollar, has resulted in European pig meat being more competitive in international markets.

Total EU pig meat exports increased by 13 per cent or almost 400,000 tonnes in 2010. This growth has continued into early 2011, with export volumes for the first quarter ahead by 26 per cent with higher volumes shipped to all exports markets, with the exception of Australia. Almost half of exports consist of lower value products such as fats, lards and offals.

EU pig meat exports (January-March 2011 versus 2010; '000 tonnes pw)
Source: EU Commission/Comext

2010 2011 Change %
Russia 156 181 +16
Hong Kong 92 127 +38
South Korea 24 64 +164
Japan 52 57 +10
China 43 55 +28
World 562 706 +26

The greatest increase in shipments has been to South Korea following the destruction of one-third of the national herd due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD). Recently, the South Korean authorities announced a doubling of the quantity of pork to be imported tax-free this year to 260,000 tonnes, in an effort to combat the 40 per cent increase in meat prices since January.

Russia is by far the most important export market for the EU accounting for almost one-third of EU exports with volumes 16 per cent higher in the first quarter. The Russian authorities announced that, from 15 June, all meat imports from three Brazilian states will be halted, providing further opportunities for EU exporters. The prospects of EU and Irish exports remain strong for the rest of the year.