Brazilian pork production expands to meet growing demand
Brazilian pork production has continued to grow this year. During the first quarter of this year, production was just shy of 1 million tonnes, 4% more than last year, according to IBGE. The growth has been driven by increasing global prices and stronger domestic demand.
Interestingly, average carcase weights were on average 1.3kg lighter than last year, at 87.7kg. However, an increase in slaughter has compensated for the lighter carcases. Q1 slaughter reached 11.3 million head, 5% more than last year.
Brazilian pig meat exports have grown by 24% so far this year (year to June), reaching 391,200 tonnes.
This lift is partly due to the removal of the Russian ban on Brazilian pork products. A ban had been introduced in late 2017, after traces of the growth promoter, ractopamine, were detected in some shipments. As of November last year, a small number of plants can supply product again. Exports this year have unsurprisingly picked up, reaching 26,200 tonnes. However, the pace is considerably slower than shipments before the ban. It is unlikely exports will to return to the same level as before, at least in the short term, as relatively few plants are approved.
Brazil has also been able to capitalise on the Chinese pork deficit resulting from the ongoing outbreak of African swine fever. So far this year (year to June), pig meat exports have increased by 29% to 92,200 tonnes. The pace of these shipments has particularly increased in recent months, with volumes trebling in June 2019, compared to last year.
Current expectations are that Brazilian pork production is going to increase by 5% in 2019. However if the global pork deficit worsens, we may see a more rapid rate of production growth.