The cyclical shift in the UK's external balance of pork trade during 1999 mainly involved a surge in imports of more than 30%, according to provisional figures from the MLC. The rise in tonnage from overseas suppliers, especially the Dutch and Danes, was much sharper than most forecasters had been predicting. Producers, however, claimed to be unsurprised and have been protesting loudly against foreign sourcing by supermarkets, processors and caterers, allegedly the cause of low pig prices in this country. In fact, the 45,000 tonne rise in imports was much less than the drop in home production and only slightly greater than the 40,000 tonne decline in exports, and over the full year the UK was a net exporter. Confusing the issue further, heavy supplies of foreign product have been putting pressure on the wholesale pork trade but did not prevent the recent sharp rebound in pig prices. {{MEAT }}

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