November 14, 2017


South Korea pork imports increase 8% in Jan - Sep; 2018 seen lower



South Korean pork imports during the first nine months expanded 8% year-on-year to 376,600 tonnes, driven by strong demand for pork in the first half on back of disease outbreaks in the poultry sector.


In the third quarter, however, volumes stabilised on 2016 levels as supplies of domestic pork are now increasing, AHDB Pork said.


While fresh/frozen pork import volumes were overall stable in the third quarter, individual suppliers recorded different trends. South Korean pork imports from the US and Germany continued to rise on year-earlier levels, by 33% to 8,500 tonnes and by 21% to 5,100 tonnes, respectively.


On the other hand, Spanish shipments declined by 34% to 7,800 tonnes (-34%), and small supplier UK's pork exports to South Korea decreased 35% in the third quarter to 400 tonnes.


Domestic production


Meanwhile, domestic production is expected to continue increasing in South Korea in 2018. Strong demand for pork is supporting prices, and buyers prefer domestic products following concerns over hepatitis E in imported German and Dutch sausages.


The implementation of a foot and mouth disease (FMD) eradication programme is helping producers maintain and expand their herd size. While the latest USDA forecasts anticipate South Korean pork consumption to grow by just under 1% in 2018, this extra demand is expected to be satisfied by a 2% increase in domestic production, according to the pork division of the UK Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board.


Import forecast


The latest USDA forecasts anticipate a 4% drop in Korean pork imports in 2018 compared with 2017. Reduced demand from South Korea, coupled with the expected lower pork imports by the key Chinese market next year, will likely further intensify competition among exporters on the global marketplace, AHDB Pork said.


It said the EU may be particularly affected by this, as South Korea has been one of the countries partially compensating for the slowdown in EU exports to China this year. "As such, there may be increasing pressure on other EU export markets, such as the Philippines and the US, and on EU domestic consumption", it added.

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