European pig meat demand still rising - AHDB

EU pig exports declined 25% in January
calendar icon 26 April 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

The trend of growing European consumption of EU pig meat seen in the second half of 2021 has continued into 2022, reported the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

January production data from Eurostat shows a year-on-year decline of 2% (-45kt), to 1.97 million tonnes. Pig slaughter in the bloc was 20.7 million head, less than 1% lower than in January 2021, showing that lighter weights also contributed to the lower monthly production figure, said the report.

Looking at the performance in some of the main production countries: production fell in Germany year-on-year (-12%, -50kt), and also in Poland (-11%, -19kt). Production was stable in France and the Netherlands, but it grew in Denmark (+4%, +7kt) and in Spain (+8%, +38kt).

EU pig meat exports fell in January to 325kt (cwe), a decline of 25% compared with the same month year before. They fell again in February by 36% year-on-year. Continued falling exports to both China (-70% in January and February combined) and the UK (-35%) were the main reason. Increases in export volumes to Japan, South Korea and the Philippines were not enough to offset these falls.

With a fall in production, but an even greater fall in exports, this pig meat would have been consumed with in the EU, especially if stocks were not building. This is likely to have been true in February as well as January, although February production data is not yet available.

Industry market reports suggest that although the amount of pork in store was at high levels in January and February compared to previous years, it was being drawn down. If this is indeed the case, then that supplies available for consumption could even be underestimated. In that case, pork coming out of store would boost supplies offsetting some of the production decline, said the report.

More recently, pig prices in the EU have been strengthening, as the supply of live pigs has not kept pace with demand. It will be some time before March production and trade data from the EU are available.

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