May 13, 2019
China's pig meat output to drop by 10% due to swine fever, FAO says
China could see its pig meat production reduced by at least 10% this year due to African swine fever but this development may provide opportunities for producers elsewhere, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said last week.
According to a FAO food output report, an "exponentially rising [feed] import trend, especially of soya beans over the past two decades" could cease suddenly given "the sharp decline in pig inventories."
Other than China, ASF had spread to neighbouring countries, notably Vietnam, Laos, Mongolia and Cambodia.
"The unfortunate prospect facing Asian producers could bring opportunities for [pork] producers elsewhere, particularly those in Europe, the US and Brazil," the FAO said. "It is a rare combination of events that presents pig producers with higher prices, higher export volumes and lower feed prices. But the data available for the spread of ASF so far would indicate that in Europe and the Americas pig producers may be about to enjoy precisely this situation."
However, how much US pork producers stand to enjoy from such opportunities is now left in more uncertainty after the US raised tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% on May 10 - a move that threatens to exacerbate the US-China trade dispute.
According to Reuters, the world's production of pig meat is forecast at 115.6 million tonnes in 2019, a decline of 4% from the prior year with a contraction in China outweighing expansions especially in the US, Brazil and Russia.
EU pig meat production is forecast to remain stable at about 24 million tonnes with the continued spread of ASF in countries like Romania, Hungary and Poland dimming the outlook.
The US is forecast to raise production by 3.8% to nearly 12 million tonnes in 2019, relying on its largest pig herd inventory since 2009.