September 8, 2020


FAO expects drop in world's pig meat production for 2020



World pig meat output is forecast to record a sharp contraction for the second year in a row, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Food Outlook biannual report on global food markets.

Global pig meat production is expected to drop  8% from last year falling to 101 million tonnes this year.

In China, pig meat output is expected to fall 20% to 35 million tonnes, largely due to the spread of African swine fever (ASF). This decline follows the 21% retreat already recorded in 2019. ASF outbreaks are also behind projected output falls in Vietnam and the Philippines, whereas a smaller pig herd is forecast to bring output down in Ukraine. In the United States, the negative production outlook is mainly linked to COVID-19 market disruptions.

By contrast, in the European Union and the United Kingdom, strong import demand, especially from China, is supporting an expansion of the sector. In Brazil, stable feed costs and large pig herd numbers are sustaining production, while in the Russian Federation, output growth is underpinned by large-scale investments in new breeding and processing facilities.

In China, pig meat imports are expected to rise by 1.2 million tonnes or 42% in 2020, to reach 4.1 million tonnes, equivalent to 40% of the global volume of trade in pig meat.

Likewise, imports by the Philippines and Vietnam are projected to rise mainly to compensate for the production shortfalls caused by ASF. Limited domestic supplies are also expected to increase imports by Ukraine. By contrast, the Republic of Korea is forecast to reduce its pig meat purchases due to a contraction in domestic food service sales.

World pig meat exports are forecast at 10.6 million tonnes in 2020, up 11.2% from last year, predominantly driven by larger anticipated imports by China, along with expected moderate increases in purchases by Vietnam, the Philippines, Chile and Ukraine.

Despite the anticipated small production contraction, the US will likely see its exports surge by 13%, with the bulk directed to China, Mexico, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea and Australia. In the EU and the UK, increased availabilities have resulted from falling domestic pig meat consumption and rising production, which may lead to larger exports, especially to China, in the wake of newly signed agreements between China and key EU suppliers.

Brazil's pig meat exports could also rise, due to increased deliveries to China, although sales to other trading partners may fall.