Prospects for the 2014 harvest are good as the winter climatic conditions have been broadly favourable so far, according to the Commission's Winter 2014 Short-Term Agricultural Outlook published yesterday.
EU cereals exports could reach a record level, possibly exceeding 37 million tonnes. In the livestock sectors, following two successive years of reduction in domestic beef and pork supply, EU meat production and consumption are expected to recover in 2014.
The good 2013 cereal harvest allows for partial stock recovery and record exports
The good 2013 cereal harvest (+8.3% with respect to 2012) should allow for a recovery in stocks by the end of the 2013/14 marketing year; yet stocks are expected to remain below average as EU exports could reach a record level, exceeding 37 million tonnes. Early estimates for 2014 sowings indicate a slight increase in cereal area (+0.8%), mainly due to soft wheat (+2.8%).
Pig meat – in a process of recovery after 2012 and 2013 low production
First results of the December 2013 survey indicate a less pronounced decline in overall pig numbers at -0.5% compared to 2012 than the -1.9% recorded in December 2012; the category of breeding sows is the main responsible for this decline (-1.5% after a much stronger contraction of 4.1% recorded a year earlier). The decline in total pig numbers concerned some of the major European pig meat producers such as Germany -1.0%, Italy -1.2% and France -2.4% and was partly offset by increased numbers in Spain (+1.6%).
Reflecting the shrinkage in animal numbers, the 2013 net production went down by 0.7% on yearly basis as result of a combination of two factors: high feed costs and the obligation to adapt to the welfare rules in place for pregnant sows. Nevertheless, the slightly higher piglet numbers (+0.4%) together with an increase in productivity picture a positive image for the 2 years-to come with slaughterings expected to recover by a modest 123 000 tonnes in 2014 and a further 173 000 tonnes in 2015.
In 2013 the restrictions imposed by China and Russia on the US pig meat related to the use of Ractopamine created favourable conditions for EU pig meat exporters, despite the low EU availabilities, so that total volumes shipped to third countries increased by 2.5% year-on-year reaching 2.2 million tonnes, carcass weight equivalent. Exports to both major partners increased, by 10% to Russia and by 26% to China and Hong Kong altogether, these destinations making up for 49% of total pig meat volumes exported from the EU. In 2014 exports might slightly decrease due to the current trade disruptions with Russia for sanitary reasons. However the steady growing demand in China might partially compensate for this reduction. Linked to the expected production recovery the export growth could restart in 2015.
Tight availabilities and strong world demand maintained 2013 producer prices at high levels, on average 2.9% higher than a year earlier (with a record in September at 191 EUR/100 kg). This contributed to a further contraction in total consumption by 1%, bringing per capita consumption to its lowest level in the past years. In 2014, increased production and slightly lower prices should inverse the trend and overall consumption is expected to be 0.6% higher. The recovery might go on in 2015 (+0.9%).
Miércoles, 5 de marzo de 2014/ Short-term outlook for arable crop, meat and dairy markets/ DG- Agriculture and Rural Development-European Union.