USDA expects ASF to cut global pork supplies
The latest USDA* global outlook report anticipates global pork production will fall by 4% in 2019.
The drop is mainly a result of a 10% reduction in Chinese output due to African Swine Fever (ASF). The outbreaks have resulted in a decline in breeding stock, inevitably leading to a contraction in pork production.
The latest figures contrast with the forecasts from October, which still anticipated a 1% rise in Chinese production. This highlights how the ASF situation has escalated in recent months. Nonetheless, the decline is still at the lower end of recent estimates made by other analysts. In a recent report, Rabobank suggested Chinese production could fall 25-30% year-on-year.
With Chinese production suffering, attention is turning elsewhere to supply the growing demand. Excluding China, production is projected to rise moderately, driven by the US and Brazil. Chinese imports are expected to increase by 41%, boosting global pork exports by 8%. The EU, in particular, look to benefit from the growing demand from China, with exports estimated to rise by 11%. The strengthening export market may encourage producers to expand their herds again later this year.
US exports are also expected to benefit. Export sales to China are already increasing despite retaliatory tariffs in place. While these tariffs remain a deterrent, US pork may benefit indirectly from shifts in trade flows.
Strong demand is also anticipated from Japan. Tariff reductions on red meat as part of new free trade agreements will stimulate demand for EU and Canadian pork. However, exports to Korea will likely reduce due to increased domestic production and high stock levels.
*United States Department of Agriculture
Felicity Rusk, Analyst