The European Union’s pork/pork variety meat exports were strong in June at 239,097 metric tons (mt), up 15 percent from a year ago and the largest monthly total since March. China (89,706 mt, +55 percent) and South Korea (20,401, +46 percent) were the big growth markets, while exports were lower for Japan (29,205 mt, -12 percent), Hong Kong (16,894 mt, -44 percent) and the Philippines (11,302 mt, -12 percent).
The strong June performance pushed the EU’s first-half results to 1.345 million mt, up 6 percent. This included a 7 percent increase in muscle cuts to 765,584 mt. First-half growth was led by China/Hong Kong (600,836 mt, up 10.5 percent), which accounted for 45 percent of the volume. South Korea (128,625 mt, up 29 percent) was the next largest growth market, with exports increasing to Australia (45,585 mt, +39 percent), Taiwan (23,432 mt, +18 percent), Singapore (18,892 mt, +6 percent), Thailand (16,907 mt, +10 percent) and New Zealand (13,800 mt, +65 percent). Exports were lower for Japan (148,631 mt, -18 percent) and the Philippines (68,177 mt, -7 percent).
First-half exports of pig fat were 86,899 mt, down 11 percent year-year-over but less than half the volume exported in the first half of 2013 when EU pork still had access to Russia. During those six months, Russia took 70 percent (124,457 mt) of the EU’s total fat exports. Although still unable to absorb the volume that formerly went to Russia, fat exports are now spread across numerous markets, led by Ukraine, the Philippines, Georgia, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Korea.
EU pig prices held mostly steady in July, but were still down 14 percent year-over-year. Prices declined during the second week of August, averaging 142.41 euros/100kg – down 15 percent year-over-year and 15 percent below the five-year average. In U.S. dollars, prices were down 28 percent year-over-year, averaging $71.68/cwt – thus the weaker euro has largely driven the spread between EU and U.S. prices, with the EU average price remaining about 6 percent below the U.S. average. The seasonal trend is for EU prices to increase into mid-September before moving lower through the end of the year. So if maintained, the August decline suggests supplies remain ample and demand tepid.
Data sources: Global Trade Atlas and European Commission