Drop of pork imports to China
The global pork supply is expected to increase further, mainly driven by China, the USA, Canada and Brazil. Pork imports to China alone were down by 27% in the first eight months of 2017, but it is expected to rise on later this year.
The most significant story in global pork markets has been the substantial decline in China’s imports in recent months, which creates a risk of over-supplied global markets and to expect China’s imports to pick up somewhat over the rest of the year. While the Rabobank Five-Nation Hog Price Index suggests a stronger pricing trend, the major importing countries will likely maintain steady import growth.
China’s pork farming structure has been impacted by stricter environmental policy enforcement. Despite the exit of many small farms, we maintain our forecast for 2017, with production increasing by 2%. Prices will continue the downward trend, after holding at strong levels in summer. Pork imports were down by 27% in the first eight months, but may rebound over Q4 2017.
China’s import demand has been one area of distortion in global pork markets over the past one to two years, and a diversion in prices for certain cuts has been another. Pork bellies have reached record levels in the US and some other markets, driven by strong demand, especially from foodservice.
Brazilian pork exports increased around 18% by value in the first nine months of the year. By volume, they declined around 4%, particularly due to the slowdown in Chinese pork imports. Given favourable feed costs, it is to expect that Brazilian production will continue rising in Q4 2017. US pork production will continue to expand over the remainder of the year. Prices are expected to soften under supply pressure. Strong currencies will put extra pressure on the export business. With weaker demand from China offset by stronger demand from Mexico, it is to expect that total exports for 2017 to be higher than in 2016.