No signs of Chinese pork import demand slowing as prices remain high

There is little sign of demand for imported pork in China slowing down, according to AHDB Pork.

Wholesale pork prices tend to track pig prices closely and currently, pig prices remain high in China, it says.

Over the last couple of months, these have fluctuated around 25 Yuan/kg (€3.40/kg) and, according to the UK’s agricultural advice body if anything, pig prices have been increasing further in the latest weeks.

The AHDB has said that this would translate into a liveweight pig price of around £2/kg (€2.48/kg).

Furthermore, it reports that prices are now almost 50% higher than a year ago, when they reached a low point of around 17 Yuan/kg (€2.31/kg).

However, it also said that latest figures suggest that, despite the recovery in prices, Chinese sow numbers continue to fall, as many small farmers have stopped production and are reluctant to restart.

AHDB expects that the situation in the Chinese market suggests that demand for imports will remain strong for some time to come.

Shipments have started the year strongly, with AHDB finding that volumes in the first two months of 2016 up by more than three-quarters compared with the same period last year.

EU imports almost doubled, which AHDB has said will be encouraging for EU exporters, including those from the UK.

Some 37% of Irish pork goes to third country markets (outside of the EU), according to Stephen Howarth, Market Specialist Manager with AHDB.

Going by this figure, Howarth says that Ireland has the highest share of pork exports leaving the EU (37%) for third country markets.

It was followed by the UK, with 31% of its pork exports going out of the EU.

Just under a quarter of pork exported from the 28 EU Member States was destined for a non-EU market.