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EU Pig Meat Exports to China Continue to Struggle

27 July 2017, at 12:00am

EU - EU total pig meat exports in May were 19 per cent down on the year at 284.4 thousand tonnes, driven by a sharp fall in fresh/frozen pork shipments to China. However, volumes exported were 9 per cent higher compared to April, reports Dorian Harris, AHDB analyst.

Fresh/frozen pork exports in May were 5 per cent higher than April, but nearly 28 per cent lower than the same month last year, at 163.6 thousand tonnes.

However, the value only fell by 12 per cent, to €430 million, as unit prices were higher.

In May shipments to China fell by 5 per cent on the month and were a notable 61 per cent lower than May 2016.

Furthermore, the value of exports to China fell on the year by 60 per cent to €85.6 million, as the average unit price was only 3 per cent higher. This compares to a 21 per cent rise in the average unit price for EU shipments to all markets.

In contrast pork sales to other Asian markets were strong. In May, Japan remained as the second largest market for the EU, with shipments to Japan rising by 17 per cent on the month and 24 per cent on the year.

In euro terms, the value of this trade to Japan increased by nearly 19 per cent on the year. Volume sales to South Korea and Philippines were also up, by 20 per cent and 50 per cent respectively, on May 2016.

Shipments to the United States also increased on the year, but by a more modest 15 per cent.

The latest figures take year to date (Jan-May) EU pork export volumes to nearly 890 thousand tonnes, 9 per cent less than in the same period last year. However, in value terms, these exports were over €2.2 billion, 6 per cent more than the same period in 2016.

The EU offal trade performed somewhat better in May with volumes shipped 14.1 thousand tonnes more than in April, at 104.1 thousand tonnes. However, this was 3 per cent lower than the volume shipped in May 2016.

Offal trade remains dominated by China and Kong Hong which account for nearly 70 per cent of total EU exports, with shipments rising on the month by 21 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.

While Hong Kong was up 11 per cent year-on-year, trade to China actually fell by 22 per cent or nearly 15,000 tonnes.

The other major EU market, the Philippines performed well, with trade up on the year by 52 per cent.

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