China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2015, compared with 7.3% in 2014, making it the country’s lowest level of growth in 25 years. This slowdown in one of the world’s juggernaut economies has caused concern for world markets, and there are worrying signs for the EU pork sector.
Pork exports to China rose by 508,000 tonnes (t) in 2014, to 682,000t up to November 2015, according to AHDB Pork’s market trends report. It suggested that Europe’s beleaguered pig meat market had been able to rely on exporting pork to China to offset the declining European pig price, now at its lowest level in a decade.
‘Too early to quantify’
But because China’s economy is looking in its worst shape for a quarter of a century, there is a belief that the purchasing power of China could hit EU pork exports.
“It is too early to predict the size of the impact this will have on the EU pig market,” AHDB Pork senior analyst Vikki Campbell said.
“Recent export figures from member states – October through to December – suggest that export numbers are still increasing. Historically there is a slowdown in pork exports in January following the Chinese New Year, so it remains to be seen how EU exports fare after this.
“We would expect the Chinese slowdown to have some impact on EU exports, but the size of this is too early to quantify.”