Global Pig Price Cycle Swings Upwards (June 2008)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in June 2008 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 11 June 2008
clock icon 5 minute read

European producers have seen continued strong prices through May, making it three months running that prices have risen rapidly.

According to the Whole Hog, prices rose by almost 14 per cent in May compared to a year ago, with eastern European countries seeing the highest rises.

Producer prices in Poland rose by 32.4 per cent and 24.1 per cent in the Czech Republic and 22.7 per cent in Hungary.

Germany and the Netherlands saw the highest rises of 16.2 per cent and 14.8 per cent respectively.

However, while European prices are rising, the Whole Hog reports that Hungary that has seen reduced production and increase imports over recent years has been hit by soaring feed costs.

These overheads have reduced farm income and seen the slaughter market saturated as animals are culled and farms closed.

Meanwhile, the Whole Hog's Global Price Cycle broke into the positive during the second week of May - the first time the index has been positive since the beginning of June last year.

The Whole Hog says that if this upswing marks a new phase in the price cycle, then this year long downturn will be the shortest in the last decade.

The turn around has come about because of the rise in US pig prices, which have gone up by 56 per cent in the last two months.

US prices are at their highest since the Whole Hog started price cycle a decade ago.

However, the Whole Hog also warned that the cycle has been positive twice before only to fall back in a couple of months.

Week to week % change in global pig price from 1 August 1999

World Growth in Pig Meat

The UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) report focuses on the sharp rise in food and feed costs over the last year.

The repost shows that global pig meat production is expected to rise this year by two per cent to 101 million tonnes.

The rise of global production follows a three per cent fall last year, which was largely the result of culling a million pigs because of PRRS in China.

The Whole Hog says that it was in Canada and Europe where output last year was at its highest.

In South America an increase in production is expected in all the producing countries and in Russia it is set to go up by more than six per cent.

Another report from the USDA shows that the recent earthquake in China has severely affected production, even though it was not centred on the main production areas.

The earthquake has also hit prices, which are expected to be high for the remainder of the year, the Whole Hog reports. The prices are also being forced up by high domestic demand and lower domestic supplies.

North American Exports Rise

The US has seen a rise in exports of 42 per cent for the first quarter of the year, reaching 431,434 tonnes.

First quarter exports to Japan were 10.8 per cent higher in the first quarter at 104,976 tonnes making it the leading buyer of US pork with 24.3 per cent of the total pork exported.

The Whole Hog reports that US pork exports to China fell by 78.2 per cent from the previous month although year to day they are up by 194.1 per cent at 45,599 tonnes.

US pork imports are continuing to fall with the first quarter falling by 10.1 per cent to 92,355 tonnes.

Canadian exports have started to grow despite the restructuring of the market.

In the first quarter, the Whole Hog says that Canadian exports showed a modest rise of 1.8 per cent and although exports to leading markets of the US and Japan have been hit, exports to Russia have risen by 20 per cent.

Taiwan and South Korea are also strong markets for Canadian pork.

Australian Exports Slide

Australian exports of pig meat have declined further despite a rise in production, which rose by 3.6 per cent compared to February last year.

While exports went up in volume by 2.4 per cent to 3,463 tonnes, in value they fell by 6.7 per cent to A$10.7 million.

Japan has shown an annual; decline in imports to February of one per cent since January and 11.3 per cent year on year.

The Whole Hog says that Japan is continuing to run down its large stocks of pork amassed during the avian flu outbreak of 2006. Stocks by the end of February were 164,150 tonnes.

Despite a drop in imports in April of 14 per cent to South Korea, they were still up year on year.

Imports from the US were 7,937 tonnes and from Canada 4,840 tonnes. South Korea also imported 4,024 tonnes from Chile.

Year to date South Korea's imports of pig meat are up by 3.8 per cent.

June 2008

Whole Hog Brief, June 2008


  • FAO predicts world pigmeat growth in 2008
  • Chinese earthquake hits pork production
  • Global pig price cycle swings upwards
  • Hungarian production hit by rising costs
  • Europe basks in 3 months of price growth
  • Canadian exports grow despite restructuring
  • US pork exports up 42% in 1st Qtr
  • Australian pork exports slide in February
  • Japanese pork imports drop in February
  • South Korean pork import growth slows
  • Company News
  • Whole Hog Price Monitor - 3 June 2008

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