April 11, 2022


EU pigmeat production in 2022 hampered by high costs and ASF



High costs of inputs and lasting effects of African swine fever (ASF) are expected to push the European Union's pigmeat production downwards in 2022, according to the European Commission's spring Short-Term Outlook for EU Agricultural Markets.


EU exports are also expected to drop due to ASF and in spite of recovering exports to the UK.


In late 2021, high input costs combined with low pigmeat prices resulted in low margin prospects and caused EU pig producers to reduce the number of breeding sows by 3.6%.


Pigmeat prices of late have increased by 32% in a month as of mid-March 2022, reaching €178/100kg (US$194) — 16% above the five-year average. Whether this trend will continue is uncertain and this is not expected to sufficiently compensate for the losses of previous months and the higher input costs, which are expected to persist.


As a result of squeezed margins, EU pigmeat production is expected to decrease by 3% this year.


Meanwhile, the average carcass weight steadily increased by about 400g/year over the 2011-2021 period, to reach 94kg in 2021. Last year, pigmeat consumption increased by 2.9%. Reduced availability this year could push consumption downwards by 3.1% in 2022.


The EU's pigmeat exports to China dropped in 2021 and this trend is expected to continue.


In addition, most Asian countries do not accept regionalisation of exports from EU countries affected by ASF. Exports to Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are also expected to be drastically reduced following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Those lost exports opportunities could be only partially compensated by recovering exports to the UK and increased opportunities in the Philippines, the United States, Australia, Vietnam, Chile and the Ivory Coast.


Overall, pigmeat exports are expected to decrease by 2.2% in 2022.


EU imports from the UK decreased significantly in 2021 but started recovering at the end of the year. They are expected to continue increasing in 2022, with Brexit-related logistical issues gradually being resolved.


Overall, EU pigmeat imports are expected to increase by 9.1% in 2022, but remain very low compared to exports.

- European Commission

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