Spanish pig meat exports still well up

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Spain is the second largest pig meat exporter in Europe, and in the first quarter of 2020, volumes were up 14% (+79,000 tonnes) on a year earlier.

This was partly a reflection of higher production, which over the same period was up 4%, or 56,000 tonnes, compared with January-March 2019. In addition, despite reports of some difficulties, demand from the main export market, China, continued to be higher with volumes up 87% (+104,000 tonnes). Despite the coronavirus outbreak leading to congestion at Chinese ports, underlying import demand remains very strong as domestic production is still severely limited due to the African Swine Fever outbreak.

Conversely, exports to South Korea were 51% down (-12,000 tonnes), partly due to reduced demand as that country also tackles the coronavirus. This is only a small market for Spanish pig meat. France is a more important market for Spanish pork and these volumes also dropped by 10% (-7,000 tonnes). Consumer demand for pig meat in France was falling prior to any COVID-19-related disruption, and has been the long-term trend.

Although lower than the peak achieved in later 2019, export prices remained 27% higher than year earlier levels. When combined with the higher volumes, the total value of Spanish exports was up 45% on a year earlier at €1.78 billion.

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