BELGIUM, Brussels. In the first four months of the year, demand in China ensured rising export volumes. Spain and Denmark were the most successful on the world market.
The now faltering export of pork from the European Union to China is only beginning to show in the latest trade data. According to the Brussels-based Commission, the 27 member states sold a total of 2.11 mill. t of pork and byproducts - measured in carcass weight - to third countries from January to April 2021, which was 412,640 t or 24.3% more than in the same period last year.
This does not include trade with the United Kingdom due to a lack of current data. Export revenues also increased, rising by € 585 mill. or 14.4% to € 4.64 bn. Both export volumes and revenues were at a record level for the first third of the year.
However, some slowdown in export momentum was already evident, as the lead over year-ago levels had been 26.2% in the first quarter. In March, EU suppliers still shipped 332,400 t to the People's Republic; in April, the figure was only 291,400 t. Overall, the Chinese pork business reached a value of 2.70 billion euros in the first third of the year; this corresponded to a good 58% of total export revenues.
Sales of pork and by-products were brisk in many other Asian countries. The Philippines, for example, ordered 132,310 t in the EU, more than three times as much product as in the first third of 2020, and became the second most important EU customer.
In addition, sales volumes to Vietnam more than doubled to 57,170 t, and shipments to Hong Kong increased by almost a third to 91,170 t. Only shipments of pork to Japan faltered badly, down 22.5 percent to 105,210 tons.
Spain benefited most from the increased international interest in pork, increasing its third-country exports by 65.3% to 811,820 t compared to the first four months of 2020. The Danes, ranked behind, enjoyed a 24.4% increase in exports to 349,610 t; the Netherlands posted a 34.7% increase to 291,420 t.
By contrast, Germany, once the EU's largest pork exporter, saw its third-country sales drop by 54.8% to just 173,910 t due to problems with African swine fever (ASF).