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Industry Report: Global Pork Trade Outlook

By CoBank, Knowledge Exchange Center

  • Total global pork exports increased by an estimated 18 percent year on year in 2016, mainly due to surging shipments to China. Imports to China, however, are expected to slip in 2017. Recent high Chinese pork prices have led to herd recovery efforts that will modestly increase its domestic production.
  • U.S. pork consumption is anticipated to closely mirror growth the U.S. population. Domestic production, however, will continue to outpace domestic usage. This makes exports all the more critical to supply/demand balance and pricing expectations.
  • The European Union was the biggest beneficiary of the surging Chinese pork buying in 2016, accounting for roughly 70 percent of China’s imports. EU pork production forecasts are essentially flat through 2017 due to recent low prices and depressed margins. In comparison, the U.S. is expected to grow output around 2 percent.
  • A wave of commercialization and modernization is transforming China’s pork production sector. Increased levels of productivity as well as improved economies of scale will be realized during this transformation.
  • The developed world has reached a saturation point and per capita protein consumption is likely to grow or decline steadily with overall population trends. On the other hand, demand for high quality animal protein among developing nations will grow with increasing incomes.

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