FAO's Mixed Outlook for Pig Meat (January 2010)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in January 2010 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 18 January 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

The global pig industry could be in for better times this year, according to the FAO's Food Outlook report.

The Whole Hog reports from the FAO paper that while the financial crisis last year had a severe impact on the meat sector pig meat production is forecast to have increased by two per cent in 2009 and is expected to increase by a further two per cent this year.

The FAO report says that the main driver that saw pig meat production last year rise to 106.5 million tonnes was China, which had 45 per cent of production and is expected to grow by nearly five per cent this year to 49.7 per cent.

The Whole Hog says there has been a remarkable turn around in US pig prices over the last few weeks, which it says could mark a change in the Global Pig Price cycle.

The sharp and unexpected rise in US prices has also helped Canadian prices up, so that the North American market looks very different compared to a few moths ago.

US Herd Falls

The US hogs and pigs inventory published at the end of last year showed that while productivity is declining sow numbers are down and, according to the Whole Hog, supplies are expected to become tight.

The Whole Hog says that the US breeding herd is down by three per cent to 5.85 million head, with the total inventory down by two per cent to 65.8 million head.

US export figures are down in the year to October 2009 by 11 per cent to 1.47 million tonnes. For the month itself, the US exported 158,884 tonnes, which was a 13.5 per cent drop on October 2008.

Figures from Canada show that there was a fall in the export of carcase cuts by four per cent in the year to October last year compared to the same period in 2008.

The Whole Hog says that while the US market is strong, Canada has not been able to regain its share of the Russian market, although trade with Australia and Taiwan are growing.

EU Producer Pries Fall at a Slower Rate

The Whole Hog says that the prices for EU producers have continued to fall, but the decline has been slower than in the past.

The UK is the only country with price increases recently, against the general EU trend.

Poland and Hungary have seen significant and rapid drops in prices along with other eastern European countries - Slovenia and the Czech Republic.

The Whole Hog reports that since Poland joined the EU in 2004 imports have grown strongly. Between January and September last year Poland imported 375,717 tonnes 15 per cent up on the same period in the previous year, with 99 per cent coming from other EU countries.

Australia's Exports Still Struggle

The Whole Hog says that trade in Australian pig meat is seeing domestic demand stable or rising against falling availability.

Export numbers are continuing to fall, while imports are on the rise.

The latest information from Japan shows that imports for the first nine months of last year fell by 12.5 per cent.

In September, Japan imported 23.5 per cent less pig meat than in September 2008.

South Korea is also showing sharp falls in imports and a drop in consumption, with the US exporters being hit the hardest.

The Whole Hog reports for the 10 months to October last year imports into South Korea fell by 13.4 per cent compared to the previous year.

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