USDA forecasts growth in global meat production, and shifting trade

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

The USDA has just released its latest outlook for global pork, beef and chicken production and trade. Recommended reading, it contains a very good summary of the implications for global demand and trade following China’s entry into, and recovery from, an outbreak of African Swine Fever in its pig herd. Let’s summarise the key points.



In 2022, China pork imports are forecast to decline by nearly 20% year-on-year, reducing global trade. This will more than offset a post-COVID recovery in demand among other major importing countries. Exporters in the EU are expected to find some relief from lower Chinese demand in the form of stronger demand in the UK, where imports are expected to increase by 7% in 2022. The EU will also boost shipments to Japan, South Korea, and Australia, countries to which EU exports have declined in recent years as sales have pivoted towards China.

Global pork production is forecast to increase by 3% in 2022, because of higher output in China. High stocks of pigs will lift supply in the first half of the year, but low producer profitability will limit growth in the second. Overall, Chinese pork production is forecast to be 51 million tonnes in 2022, 7% higher than 2021. This will offset tighter supplies in the EU, where the breeding herd has contracted. EU pig supplies will be 2% lower as a result, at 23.2 million tonnes. (The European Commission’s own forecast is that EU production will decline by 3%).

Global trade in pork is expected to fall by 4% to 11.7 million tonnes in 2022, as contracting Chinese and Philippine imports more than offset growth elsewhere. Chinese imports are forecast to decline by 19%, and the Philippines by 18% year-on-year.



Global production is forecast to grow by nearly 1% in 2022 based on growth in Australia, Brazil, India and Mexico. High global beef prices will encourage more slaughter, while greater supplies of cattle and stable carcase weights support the increase in beef production.

Australian production is expected to grow by 12%, as improved pasture conditions have helped herd rebuilding over the past year. Greater cattle availability and improved slaughterhouse profitability will drive a 4% increase in Brazil’s beef production.

Production in Canada, the United States, and the EU are forecast to fall by 3%, 1% and 1%, respectively. Unprofitability in the EU cattle sector is a key driver of lower beef production in 2022.

Global beef trade in 2022 is expected to increase by 3% on firm demand, particularly in East Asian markets. Good supplies of slaughter-ready cattle and regaining Chinese market access will drive Brazil exports and offset expected declines to its neighbours. Improved demand from price sensitive markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia will also boost Indian exports of carabeef to these destinations. Rebounding Australian supplies and firm demand will spur shipments to East Asia and the US. However, tight cattle supplies in both New Zealand and some Mercosur members (Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina) will limit these countries’ exports for 2022.



Global chicken production is forecast to remain stable in 2022 at 100.1 million tonnes, as growth in some major producers offset declines in Ukraine and China. For most countries, higher feed prices are expected to limit expansion, despite forecast economic recovery supporting modest growth in demand.

As the leading world exporter, Brazil will increase production substantially to backfill global demand created by a drop in Ukraine’s meat exports. Russian production will grow on increased availability of feed grains, but product will remain in the domestic market. Chinese production is forecast lower as pork production continues to recover, and yellow feather broiler production declines due to consumers shifting to online and modern retail channels.

Global trade is expected to remain unchanged in 2022 at nearly 13.4 million tonnes. Much of the drop in global exportable supplies spurred by the absence of Ukraine will be fulfilled by Brazil, being one of the few major exporters able to service a wide array of markets. Turkey and the UK will also increase their exports, driven by modest demand growth in their respective regions. Imports by Ukraine, Russia, and Saudi Arabia will decline, while modest import growth is expected for the UK, Iraq, Cuba and Mexico.

Sign up for regular updates

Subscribe to receive pork market news straight to your inbox. Simply complete our online form.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.