Brazil searches for new markets for growing production
Brazil’s exports of fresh/frozen pork fell in the first six months of 2018, despite higher year-on-year production, leading to a fall in the domestic pig price.
The effective closure of the Russian market, which took over 250,000 tonnes of pork from Brazil in 2017 (133,000 tonnes in the first six months), and accounted for over 40% of its exports, has necessitated expansion into other markets. In the year to June, exports to China almost trebled year-on-year (+46,000 tonnes). China therefore accounted for over 30% of Brazil’s pork exports, compared with 9% in the same period last year.
Exports to Hong Kong grew by 26% (+11,000 tonnes), and volumes to other markets, predominantly South American neighbours, also increased. Argentina, Uruguay and Chile together imported an additional 9,700 tonnes from Brazil. However, these increases have not been enough to offset the combination of the loss of the Russian market and increased domestic production.
Pig meat production in Brazil in the first quarter of the year was 958,000 tonnes (cwe), 6% (+58,000 tonnes) higher than in the first quarter of 2017. Production is expected to have continued the upwards trend observed in recent years in Q2.
Brazil’s cost of production is typically the lowest among the major pig meat producing nations, other than the US, although feed prices have been rising recently. Nonetheless, the Real has lost nearly 20% of its value against the US Dollar over the last six months, adding to the competitiveness of Brazilian product on the global market.
However, this competitive position will not necessarily translate into higher exports in the future, although it may impact the global price. The global market is well-supplied at the moment, and Brazilian exporters have so far struggled to diversify the number of international markets to which they have access. On the other hand, access has been granted to South Korea, which should help the situation if exports begin later in the year, and rising trade tensions elsewhere should also offer opportunities.
While the outlook may look more positive, Brazil may have to continue to look to its domestic market to support production levels for the time being. The domestic pig price has fallen by nearly 20% since the beginning of the year, which should be boosting demand.
Duncan Wyatt, Lead Analyst
Duncan.Wyatt@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8856