Despite the decreasing pig meat prices, the lag in the adjustment of pig production meant that EU slaughterings continued to go up in the second quarter of 2015 compared to 2014 although at a slower pace, reaching +3.9% for the whole first half of the year, according to "Short-Term Outlook for European Union arable crops, dairy and meat markets in 2015 and 2016".
Almost all Member States increased production. The most remarkable growth was recorded in Spain (+9.1% or 265 000 tonnes in first half of 2015 ) based on a strong increase of breeding sows (+5% or 105 000 heads). Higher production was recorded also in the other major pig meat producers: Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. As a consequence of the below average pig meat prices, the first signs of a decline in the reproductive herd can be seen . The recently published June 2015 livestock survey shows that the number of covered sows and gilts not yet covered slightly decreased in the main producing Member States ( - 0.7% and - 1.7%) compared to June 2014. Although this change is relatively small, it is similar to the increase of breeding sows seen in the December survey 2014. Nevertheless, the number of piglets recorded is still on the rise (+1.1%), explaining the current depressed piglet price. These findings might limit the overall 2015 annual increase in meat production to around 2.7% year - on - year and in 2016 to 0.5%.
Increased production, lower EU meat prices, a depreciated euro and a strong demand from Asia explain the surge in pig meat exports in the first six months of 2015 (+15%). The main increases were noted in shipments destined to China, the Philippines, Georgia, Balkan countries and South Korea. Smaller volumes exported to Japan are explained by its good inventories and the fact that the US has started recovering from the 2014 PEDv episode and is regaining its market share. EU exports to Hong Kong are further eroding in favour of direct exports to China, mounting to 172 000 tonnes or +52% in the first six months of 2015. In 2016, EU exports could continue to expand but at a s lower pace due to increased competition and availabilities in US and Brazil. As Russia is continuously encouraging its domestic pork production and because of the economic situation, the EU exports towards thi s destination are not expected to resume significantly even if the sanitary and economic import ban w ere to be lifted.
Friday October 9, 2015/ EC/ European Union.