Demand for pigmeat should lead to an increase of 12% of EU exports in 2019. This growth in demand is especially coming from China due to the spread of African Swine Fever in the country. Production will nonetheless remain stable in the same period, due to a reduced breeding herd and environmental restrictions. In 2020, EU production is expected to grow around 1.4%.
Rising exports in 2019, driven by surge in Chinese demand
The spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China has created a gap between production and consumption levels that cannot be compensated by imports in the short term. Experts estimate a drop of 20 35% of Chinese production in 2019 , which would represent up to twice the current pork world trade. ASF is also spreading to other Asian countries, such as Vietnam and Cambodia. Consumers will therefore need to shift part of their pork consumption to other products. This should result in a higher demand for other proteins, particularly poultry meat. In the first 4 months of 2019, EU pork exports to China have grown by 37% year on year (to a 43% share of total exports), driven by rising pigmeat exports (+60%). Likewise, shipments to Vietnam have almost doubled, to a share of 2%. Total EU pigmeat exports in the period grew by 17% (+6% for offal). By the end of 2019, EU pigmeat exports are expected to be 12% above last year, supported by Chinese demand but constrained by a limited supply. Export growth should continue at a similar rate in 2020.
Export demand will reflect on production growth only in 2020
The December 2018 livestock survey showed a reduction of the EU breeding herd by 3%, which is limiting the development of EU production despite the increasing world demand and rising prices. As a result, in the first quarter of 2019, EU pigmeat production fell by 0.7% year on year. Among the main EU producers, only Spain increased production encouraged by rising exports. By contrast, production fell significantly in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. By the end of the year, EU pigmeat supply is expected to remain stable . In 2020, as EU production capacity is restored, production should grow moderately (around 1.4%) despite the high prices, limited by other factors such us environmental regulations and social concerns. Prices have risen sharply since mid March , for both pigmeat and piglets, driven by the surge of Chinese exports, reaching the high levels of 2017. Apparent consumption per capita is expected to fall by 0.5 kg in 2019 (to 32.1 kg) as high prices favour other meats, particularly poultry.
Thursday July 4., 2019/ DG Agriculture/ European Union.