The first half of the year ended quite dismally for EU pork exporters as shipments in June were down 25% year-on-year at 158,300 tonnes.
This equated to almost 80,000 tonnes less than the same month last year, and was also almost 6,000 tonnes lower than in May this year, according to AHDB Pork.
Despite higher average export prices, influenced by the elevated EU pig price, the value of these shipments was 21% lower than in June 2016, at €404.9 million (US$482.86 million).
Just like much of 2017, what primarily drove the overall dip was the decreasing volume sales to China to which shipments fell 59% year-on-year in June. This meant China's share of the EU pork export market declined to 31%, 20 percentage points less than a year earlier. Sales to Hong Kong were also notably slower (-40%) than in June 2016.
Shipments to Japan showed a more modest decline of 4%.
While shipments fell to the two major markets, growth in pork exports to smaller players was reported, which somewhat countered the overall decline. South Korea took 17% more EU pork than a year earlier in June, while shipments to the US and the Philippines grew 8% and 34%, respectively.