The Chinese market has provided the UK pork sector with a ‘soft landing’ amid the global disruption to trade caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But with a complex mix of COVID-19, African swine fever (ASF) and political tensions currently shaping the outlook for the global pork market, the UK should pursue other export opportunities, particularly in Asia, according to Rupert Claxton, meat director at global consultants GIRA.
During an AHDB export webinar, he outlined the impact of the pandemic on economies across the world – GDP is down, for example, by nearly 8% in the EU, 7% in the US, 5% in Brazil, 7% in Thailand, 5% in Japan, with many other countries similarly affected.
The UK pork sector has largely ‘weathered the storm’ thanks to strong domestic demand and continuing high volumes of exports to China. However, the winding down of the furlough scheme in the UK over the coming months is likely to contribute to turning the disease crisis into economic crisis, with a knock-on effect for the meat industry, Mr Claxton said.