BELGIUM, Brussels. Meat exporters in the European Union achieved a new revenue record last year.
The sale of meat, including by-products and live animals, brought in a total of € 15.42 bn. for Community suppliers; this was € 3.2 bn. or 26.1% more than in 2018, according to data from the EU Commission. In contrast, expenditure on imported meat fell by 6.2% to € 4.7 bn. on a slightly smaller order volume. The trade balance surplus of the 28 member states thus grew by € 3.5 bn. to a new record level of € 10.72 bn.
The main reason for the strong increase in export earnings was the development in pork. The strong demand from China and noticeably higher prices in the second half of the year caused pork export sales for the whole of 2019 to skyrocket by € 2.94 bn. or a good 40% to € 10.21 bn. compared to 2018. The volume sold to third countries increased by "only" a good 20% to 4.74 mill. t, so that half of the increase in revenues was due to the price effect.
More money also flowed into the coffers of EU poultry meat suppliers in 2019, whose export revenues rose by almost 10% to € 2.30 bn. compared to the previous year. The main reason for this was the € 7.6% increase in deliveries to third countries to 1.91 mill. t. In particular, the Philippines, Ghana and South Africa ordered more poultry meat in the Community. Exports of sheep and their meat from the EU, which are not quite as significant in terms of volume, recorded a strong increase of almost 23% to 94,780 t in 2019, boosting exporters' revenues by a fifth to € 465 mill. This was also partly due to higher live sheep exports to Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Only the EU exporters of beef and cattle were unable to maintain the previous year's sales in 2019. Although the volume sold to third countries increased by 1.6% to 745,200 t, the resulting revenues fell by 1.1% to € 2.45 bn. This was mainly due to weaker business with Turkey and lower income from the shipment of cattle to Libya and Lebanon.