Pork exports see value rise, though volumes decrease

Shipments of pigmeat sent from the UK experienced a fall in volume for November last year. Despite this, sterling’s weakness has meant that the value of shipments remained higher compared to the same period the previous year. 

Sterling’s low value has meant that the average unit price for exports rose by 29%. As a result, the value of pigmeat exports in the month rose by a quarter, at £24.2 million. While the value of shipments to most major markets saw large increases year-on-year, value to the US fell back.

However, despite the rise in value, the volume of pork exported from the UK in November fell by 3% to 17,000 tonnes (t) compared to the same month in 2015.

This was largely driven by lower shipments to some major markets such as Germany (the second-largest market for UK pork in November 2015), Denmark and the Netherlands. A 10% fall in November 2016 resulted in Ireland overtaking Germany in terms of volume exported to the country. These declines were considered to be the result of limited pork supplies in the UK, following lower levels of production for much of the year, with production in November being 3% lower than in 2015.

This decrease came despite double-digit growth to China and Ireland, with exports up 25% and 12% respectively. These are the two largest export markets for the UK. Volumes to China have risen despite higher volumes of pigmeat going to the country from the US and Brazil. However, the rate of increase has slowed in recent months.

“Further growth has been seen in shipments of offal from the UK; volumes were up by 9%, while the value increased 60% on November 2015,” said Mark Kozlowski, senior analyst at the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Pork.
“This was driven by higher volumes going to China and the Netherlands, while volumes going to Hong Kong fell.

“Bacon exports were also positive during the month, increasing in volume by 25% relative to November 2015. Exports of sausages and other processed pigmeats were also higher than 2015. Despite the rise in the volume of sausage exports, the value declined, while bacon and processed pigmeat export values rose.”

Pork imports were also higher for the month of November, up a quarter to 43,000t. This was attributed largely to Danish shipments, which were up 66% compared to 2015.

“Volumes coming from Germany were also up, rising by 16%,” explain Kozlowski. “The weakness of the pound led unit prices to rise and the total value of these imports rose by over a half relative to 2015, reaching £88.3m.

“The volume of all other imported pigmeat products, with the exception of sausages, were also greater than a year earlier.”

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