China: production relocation continues
The steady, regulatory driven relocation of pork production will support good price levels and stabilise imports in the coming months. Local supply will start to recover in Q3, with investments of recent years coming on-stream and reaching their potential.
EU: elevated prices due to pressured supply
The European pig market is booming, with rapidly rising prices due to pressured supply. This situation will continue towards summer, with record piglet prices during Q1. Exports remain the wild card for the market’s price top, with high prices limiting the competitive position and resulting returns.
US: export to determine price level
The forecast 4% increase in pork production in 2017 is the driving force in the US pork industry. With consumption moving to record levels, exports will determine the final price level. Current low prices are supportive and also challenge supply from the main export competitor, the EU.
Brazil: limited impact of scandal on exports
Brazil is steadily growing its position in pork export markets, with rising volumes flowing into all main destinations, especially China. The recent meat scandal has had little, if any, impact on export volumes and related prices.
Volume and price drivers are changing
The global pork industry was relatively straightforward for many years, i.e. produce as much pork as possible and sell it to the highest bidder globally. Productivity, volume, and price of an increasingly ‘lean’ product were the key variables. This resulted in an interchangeable commodity product and growing competition.
This traditional production approach is, however, changing, in response to some consumers’ concerns around animal welfare, human health, and the environment. In addition, some farmers were not happy with the volume and price ‘squeeze’. Furthermore, food safety scandals increased retail and foodservice demand for improved product tracking & tracing. This is not only observed in the developed world, but—due to social media—also increasingly in the cities in the developing world.
Tuesday April 25, 2017/ Rabobank/ Netherlands.