Swine Flu Scare Hits Pig Prices (May 2009)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in May 2009 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 8 May 2009
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Media reports and the computer chatline Twitter on the current swine flu- A H1N1 flu - scare is having a serious effect on the pig industry and prices around the world, the Whole Hog reports in its May issue.

A number of countries around the world have closed its borders to pig meat from Mexico and some parts of the USA and Russia has even banned all meat imports that are not heat treated.

Pig prices have dropped and the Whole Hog says that the combination of trade bans and weak prices may bring forward the next down turn in the global pig price cycle.

It adds that pig producers are not in a good position to absorb the knock on effect of the flu scare as they have already had to absorb price rises in grain last year. There have been higher processing and consumer prices and together with the credit crunch the industry is now feeling the effects of "irrational import bans".

However, the Whole Hog says: "like the credit crunch, bank failures and Chapter 11 events in the automobile industry, it's not the end of the world".

Danish Herd Moves Back up the Curve

The Whole Hog reports that the Danish breeding herd is showing a rise in numbers, going up by 1.5 per cent from January and 1.9 per cent up on April last year at 827,000.

The numbers of sows and gilts were two per cent higher than a year ago at 1,074,000.

There was also an increase in the number of piglets and weaners.

The total number of pigs in April was 11.975 million.

In Canada, however, the number of hogs has fallen to an 11 year low.

The April survey from Statistics Canada had the number of hogs on farms at 11.9 million - almost 1.1 million down on the same month last year, the Whole Hog reports.

The breeding herd has also fallen by 6.2 per cent.

Chilean Production and Exports go up and up

The Whole Hog reports that the Chilean pig meat production has grown over the last 10 years, with an annual increase of 9.3 per cent.

The country has a meat production of 1.3 million tonnes, of which 35 per cent is pork.

Last year, production slowed because of a drop in the value of the peso and a rise in feed costs.

Meanwhile, European prices have continued to fall year-on-year, with average EU pig producers prices in April €141.92 per 100kg - 1.7 per cent down on the previous year.

The Whole Hog says that nearly all the Euro-zone countries had prices below the EU average. However, it says that in Eastern Europe prices are on the increase.

US Pig Meat Exports Move up Again

US exports of pork and variety meats for February rose by one per cent on January and up by 3.7 per cent on a year ago at 300,224 tonnes.

US exports to Mexico were down compared to January, but more than 70 per cent up on a year ago.

Exports to Japan fell by 11 per cent compared to January but 23.6 per cent up on a year ago.

US imports of pig meat fell in February with Canada reporting a drop of 14.8 per cent since January.

The latest figures from Canada show that exports for the first two months of this year fell slightly by 0.4 per cent compared to last year, the Whole Hog reports.

It says that the relatively small drop is due to a fall in exports to Russia, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and the USA.

However, exports to Australia, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan rose.

Exports of Australian pig meat also continue to fall with a 20 per cent fall year on year in January.

At the same time, Australian pork imports are continuing to rise, with a 21 per cent increase in January.

No Slowdown in Japanese Imports

Japanese pig meat imports rose by 3.8 per cent year-on-year during January.

However, the Whole Hog says that the volume is down by just over 10 per cent on the previous month.

Pig meat sales in January were down in Japan compared to the previous month.

In South Korea, imports fell by 7.9 per cent in February compared to 2008, and over the whole year, the Whole Hog shows that imports are down by 22.3 per cent.

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