EU forecasts further decline in pig meat production

Monday, 3 April 2023

In the latest EU short-term outlook, production of pig meat is forecast to decline by a further 5% in 2023, this follows a decline of 5.6% in 2022, the lowest production in almost a decade. This is a result of the decline in the number of breeding sows on the continent with commentary that carcase weights may see a slight uplift as price pressure on feed costs ease. It is assumed that the ASF situation on the continent will not see dramatic change in 2023 but will continue to trigger strong responses from affected countries and trading partners.

The tight supply will continue to support higher prices which currently sit at record levels. This will result in EU pig meat being less competitive on the global market. Exports from the EU are forecast to decline by a further 3% in 2023, following a decline of 16% in 2022 which was primarily driven by a 50% reduction in volumes shipped to China despite growth in other regions.

Domestic consumption in the EU fell to 31.8kg per capita in 2022 and is forecast to decline further to around 30kg per capita in 2023. This consumption decline, paired with reduced UK production (the source of almost 85% of EU pig meat imports), leads to a forecasted increase of only 2% for EU pig meat imports in 2023.

For the UK pork industry, this outlook for the EU pork sector may provide opportunities to both the domestic and export markets. As EU pork prices lose their advantage to the UK it may lead to a higher market share of domestic product being made available at retail. It may also lead to other countries who usually look to the EU when sourcing their pork imports considering the UK as well, although this may likely be limited by forecasted increases in production in other major exporters such as the US. These will be interesting developments to watch as the year progresses.

Image of staff member Freya Shuttleworth

Freya Shuttleworth

Senior Analyst (Livestock)

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