EU pork: Formidable competitor, but production challenges mounting

Annual drop in production projected to reach nearly 5%, due to input costs, continued spread of ASF and compliance with environmental restrictions.


Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF)

via National Hog Farmer - Sep 14, 2022


Collectively the European Union is the world's second-largest pork producer (behind only China) and the largest exporter by a considerable margin. In 2021, the EU exported 5.4 million metric tons of pork and pork variety meat, valued at $15.7 million – down modestly from the record year of 2020, when China's demand for imported pork was at its peak.


With shipments to China continuing to trend downward this year, the EU's January-June exports totaled just over 2.3 million mt, 23% below the year-ago pace, and value fell 28% to $6.4 billion (includes markets outside the EU-27 only, excludes intra-EU trade).


Despite some EU member states being ineligible for China due to African swine fever, China accounted for 56% of the EU's total export volume in 2020 and 46% in 2021. In the first half of this year, China remained the leading export market for EU pork but its share of the EU's total exports fell to 30%.


The downturn in demand from China has resulted in large volumes of European pork in search of alternative destinations, and at lower prices. In the first half of 2022, the EU's "other than China" exports reached nearly 1.6 million mt, up 23% year-over-year, with the top volume markets being the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the United States, Cote d’Ivoire, Taiwan and Ukraine.


EU pork production declining, especially in Germany and Poland ...


Progress on ASF regionalization ...     


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Authorities intervene as Chinese pork prices soar


By Meghan Taylor, Pig World (UK)

September 14, 2022


The Chinese authorities have had to dip into the country’s national meat reserves for the first time, after Chinese pork prices reached new highs in August.


Reporter Helen Davidson wrote in an article for the Guardian that the cost of pork in China recorded the highest month-on-month increase of 25.6% in July, followed by an average price rise of 22.5% in August.


This recent rise in demand was attributed to a high demand for pork as we go into the Chinese holiday season – with the mid-autumn festival and China’s National Day on October 1 – and the high cost of feed and the lagging impact of the reduction in pig breeding stocks in 2021.


Ms Wang, a manufacturing worker in Zhuhai, China, told the Guardian that in the holiday season there is a growing need for pork, as ‘families and friends gather together to enjoy meals’.


As such, the Chinese authorities have had to dip into their frozen ‘reserve’ supply of pork, to ensure an ample supply of the meat for the holidays; the country’s reserve is maintained as part of a vital stabilisation policy and, in March, the government announced that it was buying 38,000 tonnes of pork after prices fell.


Ensuring price stability and supply was related to the “vital interests of the masses,” said Dr Wang Zuli, an expert in pig production monitoring and early warnings at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences...