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UK and EU seeing surge in China exports

12th Aug 2019 / By Ed Barker

China 17Following reports that China’s pig herd could halve by the end of this year, May figures have been released on export trade for the EU and UK. Against a backdrop of herd losses in some parts of China estimated to be between 40 and 60%, EU fresh and frozen pork exports to China were up 88% year-on-year in May, to 96,500 tonnes, accounting for 44% of EU exports. The combination of a US-China trade war, oversupply in Europe and a falling Chinese currency have also increased the value of this trade, with average prices rising from €1.48/kg last May to €2.09/kg in May 2019. China now accounts for nearly half of all EU pork exports.

For the UK, the volume of fresh pork exports has also increased sharply. In May alone 7,200 tonnes of pork was exported to China, as opposed to 2,800 tonnes exported in May 2018. This means that in the year to date, 27,000 tonnes of pork has been sent out to China – almost double the amount at the same time last year. Meanwhile, 2019 has also seen an increase in the year to May in offal exports, up by around 5,000 tonnes so far. This trade activity breaks the record for UK exports up to at the end of May, and is estimated to have been worth £28m pork and £16.6, offal to for the China trade alone in 2019.

With a swift reduction in the Chinese national herd, work is also ongoing for an effective vaccine to be produced by research facilities in Europe. Until both of these measures are brought into place, it is likely that Europe and the UK will continue to step up its export activity to China. However, concern remains amongst producers at a stubborn UK SPP that is showing little sign of moving upwards, with frustration expressed that the increasing export values are not filtering through to them.

August 2019 marks 12 months since China announced they had African Swine Fever (ASF) take a look here for what’s happened in that time