Although official trade figures show pork imports 17% higher year on year at nearly 16,500 tonnes in January, a more up to date picture of the market emerges from MLC's weekly survey of exporters. This shows shipments of UK pork to other EU markets down 21% in the first quarter, despite a 10% increase in slaughterings of the sows traditionally regarded as the core export business. In reality clean pork cuts have become an important component of the trade, so the shrinking total export volume is partly a reflection of the 12% drop in the UK clean pig kill so far this year and an indicator of the domestic market tightness responsible for the heavier imports. Protesting farmers claim "unfair" cheap foreign supplies prevent the relative scarcity of home produced pigmeat translating fully into higher prices for their output, but do not mention their own sows were undercutting competitors' prices in continental manufacturing pork markets not long ago. {{MEAT }}