Predicted fall in Asian pig meat production will promote rise in international trade

The FAO has forecast production decline and increasing international trade in pork in its latest global Food Outlook for 2020.

Food markets are expected to face many more months of uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the agri-food sector is likely to display more resilience to the crisis than other sectors, AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins reported.

Global meat production is expected to shrink by 2% this year, making this the second consecutive year of decline. Much of the decline reflects a sharp drop in pig meat production, largely concentrated in Asian countries affected by African Swine Fever (ASF).

Despite this and disruption from Covid-19, international meat trade is still likely to grow modestly, largely sustained by high imports from China.

The report shows that pig meat production is likely to fall by 8% this year. Most of the decline is expected to come from China (-20%), as well as Vietnam (-15%), the Philippines (-8%) and the US (-1%). With the exception of the US, where COVID-19 disruptions are behind the fall, ASF outbreaks drive the projected declines.

Ms Wilkins added: “Global pig meat imports are set to increase by 12%; Chinese imports are forecast to increase by 42%, along with increases by Vietnam (+65%), the Philippines (+26%), Chile (+15%) and Ukraine (+55%). This growth in international trade is forecast to be met by the US (despite production challenges), the EU (and UK), Brazil, Canada, Mexico and Chile. Falling consumption in Western nations helps provide additional product for the export market.”

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