EU pork production picks up year on year in December, lower in 2019 overall
The EU-28 (including the UK) produced 1.98 million tonnes of pig meat in December, according to data from Eurostat. This was 4% higher year on year, with 21.4 million pigs slaughtered. This brings the annual total for production to 23.7 million tonnes, 1% (132,000 tonnes) lower than in 2018. 256 million pigs were slaughtered in the year, 1% fewer than in 2018.
Not all countries experienced a fall in supply. Spain and the Netherlands, along with the UK, increased production in the year. Spanish production growth has been underpinned by new processing capacity and export demand. Importantly, production in Germany, Europe’s largest producer and trader, fell by 117,000 tonnes (-2%).
Looking ahead, EU production in 2020 could well recover at little. Export demand is forecast to remain strong as pork production in China is expected to fall further year on year. The total number of pigs in the EU remained relatively steady in the year to December 2019. This points to stable production in the first half of 2020. Some breeding herd expansion could then lead to modest growth later in the year.
In the short term, reports now suggest that product appears to be moving again through Chinese ports. Although, this is not without logistical difficulties. There is thought to be a backlog in warehouses, which may take some time to clear, but at least things are moving in the right direction.