AHDB data shows mixed results for lamb and pork exports

AHDB data shows mixed results for lamb and pork exports

Data from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) shows that fresh and frozen sheep meat export volume fell following a 12-month high, whilst pigmeat exports have taken a much harder fall.

Lamb exports have grown despite a brief fall in March.

In April, 7,200 tonnes of exported fresh and frozen sheep meat showed a decrease of 1,700 tonnes from March, a fall of 19%. The export volume in March was the highest it had been in the last 12 months, which explains the large decline in exports from March to April.

France remains the largest destination for UK sheep meat exports, at 47% of the total in April 2023. However, total exports to France dropped by 724 tonnes from March. From last April, exports have fallen by 285 tonnes.

German exports totalled 1,500 tonnes in April, dropping by 62 tonnes when compared to the month prior. Observing year-on-year exports, Germany is up by 200 tonnes – the share of German exports has grown from 18% to 22%.

Lamb exports have grown on the year despite a fall of 1,000 tonnes from March to April, with the total volume up 325 tonnes (6%). The share of lamb carcases exported has grown, up from 75% in April 2022 to 81% in April 2023.

Sheep meat imports largely decline

April sheep meat imports were found to be at a lower volume when compared to March levels, new data from AHDB shows. The data revealed a drop of 41% from 2022 levels to a total of 3,700 tonnes.

AHDB reported that frozen lamb legs remain the UK’s largest imported product, at 1,020 tonnes in April. From March, imports have fallen by 820 tonnes (45%), down 1,500 tonnes (59%) in April 2022. Fresh lamb legs were at a total of 735 tonnes in April, which is a decline of a little over 100 tonnes (12%) from March.

Shipments from New Zealand have fallen by 1,200 tonnes (36%), and when observing New Zealand imports from April 2022 it is possible to observe a fall of almost 2,000 tonnes (nearly 50%). AHDB also found that imports from Australia had increased by just under 200 tonnes, securing a higher number of imports at 830 tonnes and remaining above the level observed in March. When looking at import levels from the previous April, a fall of 360 tonnes could be seen.

The Free Trade Agreement between the UK and Australia ensures there is a tariff-free quota that allows shipments of Australian sheep meat to be imported to the UK without tariffs. A total of 580 tonnes (4%) of the quota has been used as of 26th June 2023 following the implementation of the quota on 31st May 2023. This quota is lower than the previous tariff-free quota that was in place before England left the EU, which may have an impact on the total number of imports when comparing this year to previous years., according to data from AHDB.

Pork imports increase significantly

For the year to date (January to April), 44,800 tonnes fresh/frozen pork has been exported from the UK: 24,100 tonnes (54%) of this being bone-in with only 5,700 tonnes (13%) of bone-less. This marks a significant decline from just over 71,000 tonnes recorded in 2022.

Over the same period, a total of 102,200 tonnes of fresh and frozen pig meat was imported to the UK. Of this, 59,800 tonnes (58%) was boneless, while 39,000 tonnes (38%) was bone-in.

AHDB said that the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China in 2018 led to an increased import demand, with UK exports favouring China over EU as its main export partner in 2021. In 2022, this was reversed as China’s zero-Covid policy limited demand and Covid-19 restrictions lifted across both the UK and Europe. In 2023, this trend has continued despite the policy being lifted in China as the economy recovers slowly.

SPP rises whilst carcase weights decline

At the end of June, AHDB data showed that the Standard Pig Price (SPP) was up by 35.79p/kg compared to June 2022, putting the current SPP at 218.99p/kg. The All Pig Price (APP) was reported to be up 29.82p/kg compared to June 2022, with the year-on-year change placing the current APP at 218.15p/kg.

While the prices went up, the average GB carcase weight went down, with the change from June 2022 being -0.89kg. The current average weight is 88.45kg.

The GB clean pig slaughterings were at an estimated 156,100, a significant 18,500 decrease since June 2022, but an increase of 5,300 from the previous week.

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