Given slightly higher production and reduced exports to non-EU markets, there was an increase in the amount of pork traded between EU countries last year, albeit only by 2%, according to BPEX.
Trade between EU Member States involves more than three times as much pork as is shipped to third countries, amounting to well over 5 million tonnes each year. This has an important influence on the EU pig market, ensuring that prices in most EU countries remain in line with one another.
More pork available for consumption
Given slightly higher production and reduced exports to non-EU markets, there was more pork available for consumption within the EU in 2014. Therefore, it is unsurprising that there was an increase in the amount of pork traded between EU countries during the year, albeit only by 2%. Over 80% of the total originated from the six leading exporters, with Germany alone accounting for a quarter.
France imported more pork than it exported
A fall in exports meant that France imported more pork than it exported to the rest of the EU for the first time since 2000, although its shipments to non-EU markets meant it was a net exporter overall. Ireland was the only other EU country which was a net exporter to the rest of the EU, although Hungary and Finland were also net-exporters when third country shipments are taken into account.
Italy the main growth market
Overall, 22 EU Member States were net importers from the rest of the union, with volumes ranging from over 1 million tonnes in the case of Italy to less than 5,000 tonnes into Malta. Italy was the main growth market, with shipments up by 76,000 tonnes year on year, more than the total intake of 11 EU countries. Croatian imports rose by 15,000 tonnes in its first full year of EU membership, following a similar rise last year; its exports were nearly 10 times higher than in 2013 but still only amounted to 2,100 tonnes.
UK the third largest net importer of EU pork
The UK is the third largest net importer of EU pork, after Italy and Poland but its imports of EU pork were lower than in 2013 as buyers remained committed to sourcing product from the UK.