UK production in second half lower than previously expected?
The July Pig Meat Outlook review is now available, assessing the accuracy of the UK pig meat production and trade forecasts produced in April.
As expected, production continued to trend below year earlier levels during Q2, although the year-on-year decline was slightly greater than anticipated. This was due to clean pig slaughterings falling 0.9% behind expectations, possibly due to the sow herd being below previous estimations. As such, the recovery in production in the latter half of the year could be more stable than previously anticipated, without any significant growth on the horizon.
Meanwhile, pig meat imports showed a surprisingly large (16%) increase on year earlier levels during January-May, contrasting reports of tight supplies on the market. This was particularly driven by higher imports of fresh/frozen pork, and as such it may be that these import figures are somewhat overstated. This is given industry reports and export figures from trading partners. Imports are still expected to moderate in the latter half of the year, as the tight supply situation eases.
On the export side, shipments fell year-on-year largely in line with expectations, following from the assumed contraction in available exportable supplies. Shipments had been anticipated to pick up in the latter half of the year, although this could be limited by Chinese import demand (read more here).
Overall, the extent to which production picks up over the next few months, and the scale of export demand, will be key to determining the market balance in the third quarter. Supplies look set to move closer in line with demand, which will likely limit any further upward momentum to the pig price. AHDB will reflect on Q3 developments when the next full outlook is produced in October.
To read the full outlook review, click here.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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