The USDA has revised China’s pigmeat imports down by 700,000t to 3.5m tonnes for this year, compared with their January forecast of 4.2m tonnes. In addition, Hong Kong demand is forecast to be 70,000t lower than the January forecast at 350,000t. Import demand from Philippines is also revised down by over 80,000t.
The only forecasts that are revised upwards are Australia, up 100,000t to 1.292m tonnes and the UK, up 60,000t to 800,000t. This means that the volume of pigmeat exports will be over 600,000t less than predicted in January, adding to the global oversupply that has depressed prices for pig farmers over recent months.
The reason for the dramatic reduction in China’s demand for imported pigmeat is the rapid rebuilding of the pig herd and domestic production forecast is revised up 51m tonnes, 1.5m tonnes higher than the January forecast. EU production is forecast to fall 500,000t more to 23.150m tonnes and US production is also forecast to fall by 200,000t to 12.288t.
Revisions in the April beef forecast compared with January are relatively small compared with pigmeat. A notable increase in production is expected in the US, where the volume is forecast at 12.627m tonnes, just under 250,000t higher than the January forecast. The forecast for Brazil is revised upwards to 9.850m tonnes in April, 100,000t more than in the January forecast. Argentina and Canada are forecast at 60,000t lower than they were in January.
Turning to trade, China’s import demand is forecast at 3.150t, 100,000t less than was forecast in January, but still 126,000t higher than the 2021 figure. Elsewhere, in other major import markets, Japan is revised down by 5,000t while South Korea’s import demand is revised upwards by 20,000t.
Globally, poultry production is second only to pigmeat, and the USDA April forecast revised this up by 370,000t to 98.8m tonnes. The UK is forecast to account for 100,000t of this and Russia is forecast to be 150,000t higher than it was in January.
Brazil remains the main exporter of poultry meat, exported at 4.6m tonnes, one-third of globally traded poultry meat and 275,000t more than was forecast by the USDA in January, followed by the US at 3.362m tonnes, a quarter of all poultry meat traded internationally.
The dramatic upward revision of pigmeat production in China reflects the speed of recovery from African swine fever, which decimated the country's production in 2018 and 2019. The restructured industry, in which backyard herds are replaced by specialised biosecure units, makes the Chinese industry more secure against future outbreaks.
It also means that the short-lived bonanza for exporting countries is over and is unlikely to return in the immediate future.
The global beef supply and demand equation is much more aligned, though China's import demand is slowing down, while Brazilian production is increasing and Australia is recovering from drought.