July 4, 2018


Russia's pork imports become insignificant during first 4 months



A ban on Brazilian pig meat imports announced in December 2017 has resulted in the drastic decrease of Russia's pork imports, which amounted to just 20,000 tonnes in the first four months, AHDB Pork reported.


The four-month volume is a quarter of the volume imported in the same period last year. "Imports are now almost 10% of the level from the first four months of 2013, before any bans had been imposed", the pork division of the UK levy body Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board noted.


From 7,000 tonnes of pig meat shipped from Brazil in January, by April the volume was down to just 25 tonnes. In comparison, the volume shipped last December was 21,000 tonnes. Despite the dwindling number, Brazil remained as the largest supplier across the four-month period. Chile was the only other country to ship over 1,000 tonnes in total; at 6,100 tonnes volumes were more than twice the 2017 level.


With pork imports now at these negligible levels, Russian pig prices have picked up, as live pig prices rose sharply at the end of March to over 100 Russian rubles (US$1.58) per kilogramme, likely reflecting the declining import levels. Prices have remained around this level since, standing at RUB109/kg for the week ended June 20.


Meanwhile, pig meat exports are becoming an increasingly important area for the industry, as it

exported almost 11,800 tonnes of pork in the first four months. This volume is around a third more than in the same period last year. In April, Russia became a net exporter of pork (+46 tonnes) for the first time.


Exports currently remain focused on nearby countries like Ukraine, where shipments reached 6,800 tonnes (+50% year-on-year). The second primary market was Belarus, which received 3,000 tonnes during the same period (+80% year-on-year).


According to AHDB Pork, the latest USDA forecasts anticipate Russian pig meat production will increase further this year, to over 3 million tonnes. This would make Russia over 94% self-sufficient in pig production. 
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