Germany exported more pork in the EU
Despite the ban from Germany’s top export destination, volumes in September actually recorded a significant rise. Fresh/frozen pork exports reached 174,000 tonnes, which is the highest quantity shipped in a single month since October 2012. Volumes were 38% (48,000 tonnes) higher than in August, and 13% (20,000 tonnes) more than in the previous year. An increase of 37% in volumes shipped into the EU-27 and UK market was reported for September when Germany exported 135,000 tonnes, 39,000 tonnes more than in the previous year.
"The majority of the pork that would have been destined for the Chinese market was re-routed onto the European market. Virtually all pork exports to China are frozen and China was receiving over half of Germany’s frozen pork exports for the year up to August. However, despite the drop in Chinese trade, frozen volumes exported in September were only 5% (3,000 tonnes) lower than August. Increased trade with Romania and Hong Kong suggest these were key alternative outlets for product already frozen, though a number of other European destinations also took more frozen German pork," commented AHDB analyst Felicity Rusk.
As a result, the type of meat exported by German producers has shifted from frozen to fresh and chilled products. The rise in overall pork export volumes came solely from this product, which accounted for 68% of the overall volume. At the same time, the large volume of pork exported onto the EU and UK markets has put downwards pressure on prices. "As such, export prices in September were generally lower than in the previous month. Prices for frozen products recorded a larger decline than prices for fresh/chilled products. With China’s ban still in place, Germany will have to continue to find alternative outlets for its pork exports. With only a few destinations outside the EU accepting a regional approach to ASF outbreaks, the European market is likely to absorb the majority of the product that would have otherwise gone to China. This will likely lead to ongoing pressure on prices unless regionalisation agreements can be made," added the analyst.
The decline in pig prices has been observed also for October and November, with the average price dropping to €133.81/100kg. In the three weeks to 22 November, the German price fell by over €4, to average €127.06/100kg. This the lowest the measure has been in at least the last five years. As Germany dominates the EU average price, this decline has also weighed on prices in other EU countries.
In Denmark, which also has a large influence on the EU market, the price has also fallen in recent weeks. While the demand for Danish pork remains steady in Asia, prices stand at the lowest recorded since March 2019.
Prices in Spain and France have followed a similar pattern, with the Spanish price falling by over €8 during this period, due to the number of pigs available outweighing demand. Despite Spain continuing to export to China, further price reductions are expected in the coming weeks. In France, usual demand patterns have continued to be disrupted, resulting from loss of food service due to the recent national lockdown.