AHDB Pork represents pig traders in the UK and its annual report says that despite 2015 being “a year to forget”, pork exports to China rose from 508,000 tonnes (t) in 2014, to 682,000t up to November 2015.
In fact, EU imports of pork accounted for around 74% of all pork products exported to China in 2015, claims the report. This is believed to be a result of China suffering from a significant drop in its breeding herd, which in turn led to a tightening of supplies and a rise in domestic pig prices.
A weakening euro was compounded by an abundant supply of pork – exacerbated by Russia’s trade ban – and these factors made EU pig meat attractive to Chinese buyers, the report says.
With a growing population in China that is steadily becoming more urbanised, demand for pork is expected to remain steady in one of the world’s largest economies.
Chinese pork prices are also tipped to remain high in 2016. This, in addition to a low level of consumer trust in domestic pig meat, may help the EU continue to grow its pork exports in China.
“Going forward, export opportunities to China should remain strong for much of 2016, as pig numbers are not predicted to recover until the end of the year,” says the report.
“Consumption is forecast to remain stable, ensuring that demand will still exceed supply, although the rate of growth is likely to slow and may fall below 2015’s inflated levels as the year progresses.”