Japan remains top of the world league as an importer of pigmeat, but customs data in Tokyo have indicated a downturn of 3% in the volume imported during the first quarter of 2008. The principal reason was a 20% fall in imports from the European Union. While the EU-27 accounted for 25% of the fresh and frozen pork reaching Japanese ports in this period, the USA sent 40%.

Denmark says its pig numbers were down 10.4% on an annual basis in April. Danish pig slaughterings had dropped 2% in the first quarter of this year, making less meat available for export.

USA produced a record 9.96 million tons of pork in 2007, on newly revised USDA figures.

Russia banned pigmeat imports from Canada in April and de-listed a number of plants in the European Union and USA as exporters of pork. It also reduced its imports of pork from Brazil by 17% over the first 3 months of the year.

Poland’s central statistical office reports that the average procurement price of pigs for slaughter in Poland in the first quarter of this year was 6.9% higher than in the same period in 2007.

Australia, is reckoned to be reducing its breeding-pig population by 70 000 sow or 15% as cost hikes continue to hit producers.

Germany’s state secretary for agriculture has signed an agreement with his South African counterpart to export pork to South Africa, according to the South African Meat Industry Company. South Africa currently consumes some 160 000 ton of pork per year, of which around 20 000 tons is imported.