‘China to remain a key market for Irish pigmeat in 2017’

China will remain a key market for Irish pigmeat exports in 2017, according to Bord Bia, but much of the demand will depend on domestic Chinese production.

Competition from global exporters and exchange rate fluctuations are also likely to play a role in the pigmeat market over the coming months.

On a positive note, it expects some increase in trade to international markets due to higher demand from South East Asian markets.

This outlook was presented in the Bord Bia Export Performance and Prospects 2016-2017 document, which was launched earlier this week.

In addition to China, it states that a prolonged period of uncertainty around Brexit will continue to determine the competitiveness of Irish pigmeat in the UK.

Where was Irish pigmeat exported to in 2016?

The Bord Bia document also identifies the main destinations for Irish pigmeat exports in 2016.

In total, it says, the volume of pigmeat exported is estimated to have declined by 3% in 2016 to around 97,000t, largely due to reduced imports from continental EU markets.

However, an increase in pig prices in the second half of the year left the value of Irish pigmeat exports up by 4% in 2016 to €615m.

Irish pigmeat shipments to the UK showed some decline last year, it says, with export volumes back by 4% to 88,000t.

The value of the trade fell by 5%, largely due to unfavourable exchange rate movements.

Despite the fall in exports to the UK, exports to Continental EU markets showed little change, while exports to international marks grew strongly.

This growth in exports, it says, is due to higher demand in Asia and particularly from China.

The continued evolution of Chinese consumer behaviour towards a more westernised diet has led to a significant increase in demand for higher value products such as bone in leg and shoulder meat resulting in higher unit prices for pigmeat exports.

China remains the second most important market for Irish pigmeat, with exports exceeding 65,000t.