Export demand to support US pig prices in 2020, despite strong production

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

By Duncan Wyatt

The USDA has increased its 2020 US pork production forecast to around 13.1m tonnes. This follows from the high number of slaughter pigs available in January and early February, at heavier weights. Domestic poultry production is expected to be strong too, which will keep US pork consumption flat. However, US pork exports in 2020 are now forecast to increase by more than 17% compared with 2019.

On average, US pig prices this year are expected to be slightly above those in 2019. However, in the upcoming second quarter, prices are forecast below year earlier levels. Prices at this time last year spiked on the back of optimistic Chinese demand expectations.

Nonetheless, important demand increases coming from China are anticipated to support the overall increase. China recently increased its purchases of US pork products, mainly frozen carcases. In part, this is thought to be to re-employ some of the labour released from Chinese processing plants affected by reduced pig numbers. Until December when trade was interrupted, the UK had also been increasing its exports of frozen carcases to China, albeit from low levels.

Image of staff member Duncan Wyatt

Duncan Wyatt

Lead Analyst - Red Meat

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