Mexican pork producers hoping to boost exports
In the period from January to August Mexico exported 79.8 thousand tonnes of fresh/frozen pork.
This is a year on year increase of 20% and was worth $332 million. The main trading partner was Japan, which took 61 thousand tonnes, with only 6.3 thousand tonnes shipped to its nearest neighbour, the US. However, Mexican pork producers are hoping that will change soon.
In August, it was proposed that the US recognise Mexico as being free of classical swine fever (CSF). Clearly, the industry is keen that this status is achieved, following a similar certification given by the WTO in May. Although Mexico produces pork at a higher cost than its US counterpart, it is thought that exports could still be priced competitively on the US market, helped by a recent devaluation in the Mexican peso against the US dollar.
Both production and exports have been growing steadily in Mexico for years, on the back of improving productivity. The breeding herd has grown by 13% since 2000 to 1.18 million head in 2017, while over the same period slaughterings have increased by 34% to 18.30 million head. Average carcase weights have also increased from 66kg to 78kg in that time. However, demand for pork in Mexico has more than doubled since 2000 and the country still imports nearly half of the 2.4 million tonnes (cwe) of pork it consumes each year. Around 85% of this came from the US in 2016 and the rest from Canada.
As such, Mexican producers would likely stand to gain if the ongoing NAFTA trade talks should fail, due to this import dependency. Despite this, the domestic industry is keen to exploit trade opportunities with the US. A final determination by the USDA on Mexico’s CSF status is expected in December.
Duncan Wyatt, Lead Analyst
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