Pigs backing up, prices unchanged
Pig farmers said this week prices are unchanged, after a year in which they lost 10c per kg on average, leaving their credit terms stretched beyond capacity. Meanwhile, pigs are backing up on farms, due to a factory labour dispute. Bord Bia sources in yesterday’s Export Performance & Prospects report predicted pigmeat output will come under further pressure in China, with the herd already reduced as much as 10% by African Swine Fever (ASF) pressures. Output could also decline in 2019 to some extent in the EU. But US production is expected to increase 5% this year. US exports of pork to China have been affected by tariffs, but the effect has been cushioned by strong demand for US pork in Japan and South Korea. ASF is already present in Belgium, and could have a very damaging effect on European trade if it spreads to other Western European countries. Bord Bia sources also said Brexit poses an unpredictable challenge to the Irish pigmeat industry, with 56% of pigmeat exports from primary and secondary processors going to the UK, and 99% of live exports. In response, Ireland seeks access to new markets.
Developments in 2018 may pave the way for market access this year in Mexico.