Overview of This Week’s Pig Industry News

8 May 2012, at 11:24pm

ANALYSIS -– This week, we focus on the pig sectors in the so–called BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – whose economies are emerging and increasingly driving global growth, writes senior editor, Jackie Linden. While Brazil’s pig industry is still increasing, judging from the latest exports figures and reported strong domestic demand, producers are facing the prospect of rising feedstuffs prices, even in the country renowned for its maize and soybean production. We also look at why Russia’s pig producers are soon to face more competition from imports and why the Chinese pork sector is in the throes of modernisation and industry consolidation.

The term ‘Bric’ was coined in 2001 by Goldman Sachs economist, Jim O'Neill, to group together the four fast-rising economies. Since recovering more quickly from the global crisis in 2008, their economic strength has been matched by their growing political influence.

Pork exports from Brazil in 2011 at 516,419 tonnes were a shade below the total for 2010 of 540,417 tonnes but total receipts increased by seven per cent in US-dollar terms to US$1,435 million.

For the first quarter of this year, Brazil’s pork exports were 4.7 per cent above the same period of 2011 at 123,732 tons. The value of those exports were up almost 1.4 per cent at over US$315 million.

One of the country’s top companies, Brasil Foods (BRF), announced its first quarter results, which included a 5.3 per cent increase in revenue and net income of 153 million reals (BRR). While some key export markets were challenging, domestic sales were up 11 per cent.

BRF also announced in the last week that is has entered into a three–year US$500–million revolver credit facility.

There may be a cloud on the horizon to hold back the growth of Brazil’s pork industry. In Brazil over the last week, it has been reported that severe weather and crop failures in the south of the country and increased consumption demand are driving up corn (maize) and soybean meal prices in Brazil, according to Informa Economics FNP.

Turning to the second ‘Bric’, it appears that Russia's pig producers are in for a hard time farm. While the Russian government is planning to invest the equivalent of around 33 billion in production and processing to achieve its pig production target of 4.53 million tonnes liveweight by 2020. Domestic pig keepers and meat processors, however will face serious problems as the country enters the World Trade Organization (WTO) as import duty on pig meat will be cancelled and on live pigs, it will decrease from 40 per cent to five per cent. According to forecasts, this may lead to an increase of the share of imported pork on the Russian market from 30 per cent to 45 per cent.

The country has also been affected by many outbreaks of swine fever – of the classical and and African varieties – in the wild and domestic pig populations lately but there have been no reports of new outbreaks in the last week or so.

No reports on the (relatively small) pig industry in India have been received in the last week.

From China, in an annual letter to shareholders, the Chairman and CEO of Zhongpin has described 2011 as an exceptional year for the company, with sales revenues up 54 per cent to US$1.45 billion. Investments added more than 200,000 metric tons of annual capacity for pork and pork products.

Xianfu Zhu commented: “We are not just one of China’s top pork producers – we have a unique branded retail concept that includes our own showcase stores and branded stores, as well as dedicated Zhongpin counters in supermarkets. At the end of last year, our distribution network covered 20 provinces and 3,428 retail outlets. The bigger our national footprint becomes, the more we are investing to bring Chinese consumers a range of choices to meet their amazing diversity of tastes. Last year, we launched 79 new pork products, bringing our current total products to over 410, and today we have about 90 new products under development.“

He added that China’s pork market is the largest in the world, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of global production and consumption in 2011, or 49.5 million metric tons. China’s hog sector is 4.6 times the size of the United States.

To give you an idea of the scope and scale of changes underway in the industry, he highlighted that the Chinese government aims to reduce the number of hog slaughtering facilities from over 20,000 to around 3,000 by 2015 to encourage large producers with hygienic facilities. Modern hog operations currently represent 30 per cent of production.

Xianfu Zhu added that the Chinese industry is in the throes of modernisation and industry consolidation.