Supply grows in 2018
Following the expansion of the EU breeding-pig herd reported in the December 2017 livestock survey (+1.1 % year-on-year), EU pigmeat production rose by 4.1 % in tonnes in the first quarter of 2018 compared with 2017. The growth rate was considerably higher in the EU-N13 (+10 %) than in the EU-15 (+3 %), with increases in most Member States, particularly in eastern Europe: Poland (+12 %), Romania (+18 %) and Slovakia (+19 %). This fast growth is expected to moderate by the end of the year, due to low prices and struggling exports, to reach a total production of 24 million t in 2018 (+1.5 % year-on-year). In 2019, production should stabilise, but this will depend on export performance.
EU pork exports
For 2018, the China Agricultural Outlook (2018-2027) foresees a new contraction of pigmeat imports (-26 %). If this materialises, EU exports will have to find other outlets. Nevertheless, while the volume of exports to China fell by 6 % year-on-year in the first 4-month period of 2018, it was still only 1 % below the average volume of 2017.
The EU kept its dominant position in the Chinese market in the first quarter of 2018 (66 % share of pigmeat imports) while Canada and the US saw their shares reduced slightly, from 14 % each in 2017 to 12 % and 11 % respectively. By contrast, Brazil doubled its share to 8 %, having been closed out of the Russian market from December 2017. For offal, the EU’s share in Chinese imports was lower (57 %), but was still significantly higher than those of the US (30 %) and Canada (10 %).
EU pigmeat exports are expected to rise by 2.5 % in 2018, albeit under pressure from increasing supplies of cheaper pigmeat from the US and Canada (the EU’s main competitors). EU pigmeat exports are not expected to rise in 2019, but this will depend on price developments in 2018.
July 2018/ Short-term outlook
for EU agricultural markets
in 2018 and 2019/ European Union.