US pork outlook positive despite trade uncertainty

25 September 2018, at 12:00am

The President of Global AgriTrends says despite the current disruption in the global trade of US pork the long-term outlook remains optimistic

In retaliation for import duties imposed by the Trump administration China has raised its duties on US pork to 62 percent and Mexico has imposed 20 percent duties on US ham.

"Trump, Trade and Global Pork" will be discussed as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2018 November 14 and 15 in Saskatoon.

Brett Stuart, the President of Global AgriTrends, acknowledges that the election of Donald Trump has changed US global trade patterns, at least in the short term:

“You look at where we're at with pork exports today: our exports are positive this year to date, but our domestic prices are low.

“The spot cash hog price three weeks ago hit a 15 year low in the US. Our producers in the US are losing money today.

“It's easy to just throw stones at the trade agenda and say that's what's costing us money – and that is probably costing us a little bit of money – but the other reason is that we have big supplies in the US.

“US pork production grew well over two percent last year. It's up three to three and a half percent this year. On a per capita basis, the amount of pork produced for every man, woman and child in America is approaching a 15-year high.

“We've built new barns, we've built new plants, so supplies are abundant in the US and that's weighing on the market as well.

“I don't know if we'll see any fundamental structural change in US pork production that we can link to the trade agenda. We're definitely seeing some margin pressure but, again, it's a function of exports as well as the supplies here at home.

“Again the exports are positive this year to date.”

Stuart remains optimistic long-term – he says these political issues are temporary. The world population is growing and North American pork remains among the most competitively priced in the world.

As reported by Bruce Cochrane, Farmscape.Ca