The latest outlook from the USDA forecasts that global pork production in 2020 is expected to fall by 9% on the year, to 96.4 million tonnes.
Unsurprisingly, it is the ongoing outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) that is expected to drive down production.
The latest forecast is a slight upwards revision (1.2%) from its previous forecast. Chinese production was revised up by almost 4%. This reflects a combination of heavier carcase weights, and slightly higher slaughter. High domestic pig prices encourage producers to finish animals at a heavier weight, to maximise both pork output and profits.
Even so, Chinese production is still expected to be 23% lower than in 2019, which was itself 14% down on 2018. This substantial decline cannot be compensated by growth elsewhere.
Some minor changes have also been made. Production in the Philippines has been revised up, as ASF has not progressed through the domestic herd as quickly as expected. Production is still expected to fall by 10% on the year though. Canadian production has also been revised upwards. Regained access to the Chinese market has improved market prospects.
Most of the major exporters are forecast to show growth, capitalising on the increasing demand from nations affected by ASF. Chinese pork imports are expected to reach 3.7m tonnes, 42% more than in 2019. Brazil, Canada and the United States are expected to increase supplies to the nation this year; but the EU is expected to remain the major supplier.