So far this year, there have been contrasting trends in imports to the major pork markets in Asia. As reported last week, Chinese imports have been very strong in recent months.
Strong growth has also been seen in shipments to South Korea. In contrast, pork purchases by the Philippines and Hong Kong have reduced.
South Korea imported 356,000 tonnes of pork in the first nine months of 2015, up by more than a third compared with a year earlier. Disease problems continue to affect domestic production, although output has only been down marginally.
At the same time, consumer demand has been strong, in part due to the impact of avian influenza on poultry production. This has provided opportunities for the major suppliers of pork to the country, with all showing strong growth, led by the EU (primarily Germany and Spain) and North America. The EU’s market share increased to over half, up from 37 per cent in January-September 2013.
Shipments of pork to Hong Kong were down by 3 per cent year on year during January-September 2015. Were it not for a rise in imports from mainland China, the decline would have been a slightly larger 6 per cent.
Other than China, the two main suppliers, Brazil and the EU, both sent less pork to Hong Kong, shipments falling by 7 per cent and 13 per cent respectively. These falls were partly offset by higher volumes from smaller suppliers such as the US, Canada and Vietnam.
Data for the Philippines are currently only available up to July but these also show a decline in imports, by 18 per cent to 31,600 tonnes.
Shipments from the EU fell by 3 per cent but, nevertheless, its market share increased to nearly three-quarters, as there were much sharper falls in supplies from Canada and the US. Despite the lower quantities, a sharp increase in unit prices meant that the value of trade was actually up fractionally at 2.63 billion pesos.