African Swine Fever (ASF) and political unrest resulted in pork import restrictions into Russia. The effect of these restrictions can now be seen through the recently released trade figures from Russia, which show a 40% drop in pork imports.
Russian trade data has recently become available for the first time since April. The new figures, reported by BPEX, show that, Russia imported 542,800 tonnes of pork between January and November 2013, but for the same period in 2014 this figure was 329,800 tonnes a fall of over 200,000 tonnes, or nearly 40%. This decrease has be put down to successive trade restrictions based on disease outbreaks and international politics.
Disease and politics shuts EU out of Russian market
In February imports from the EU were banned due to concerns over ASF; shipments decreased from 332,000 tonnes in the first 11 months of 2013 (over 60% of all imports) to just 19,000 tonnes (6% of the total) last year. Canada and Brazil stepped up to the plate and increased their deliveries but they were not able to fill the deficit. Then in August additional sanctions were put into place against Canada, the US and the EU, this time on political grounds.
Trade sanctions opened doors for Brazil and China
This allowed Brazil to expand shipments to over 20,000 tonnes in November, going some way to fill the gap that ban on pork imports from US and Canada made but leaving the deficit from the EU untouched. Russia also expanded trade with some of its smaller partners, including Chile and Serbia. Agreements with China, India and South Korea are thought to be in progress but had not come into effect by November.
Russian pork prices rose up to 80%
Imported pork prices increased by over a third on average for the January to November period. However, as the successive restrictions began to impact on the market, prices rose steadily and by November the year on year increase was up to 80% in rouble terms, partly due to the devaluation of the Russian currency. This has inevitably driven pork prices much higher on the Russian consumer market, even with internal pig production reported to be increasing, with a 12% rise in slaughterings.
Russia reopening pig markets to some EU countries
There has been suggestions last week that Russia would reopen its doors to some pig meat products from certain EU countries, including France, Italy and Denmark. However, while progress has been made in discussions, it appears that significant technical work will be required before shipments can resume. Even then, the political ban will remain in place until the summer, at least, and will prevent fresh and frozen pork and some other EU products from being sent to Russia.