Global pork consumption to rise in 2024 despite fewer sows

Tighter global pork production is forecast in early 2024 due to a declining breeding sow herd in some of the key producing countries, according to global co-operative bank Rabobank.

China, the US and Europe are all likely to see slightly lower production, while Brazil is forecast to increase its output.

Meanwhile, consumption is expected to remain strong throughout 2024 and increase marginally on the previous year’s volumes.

See also: Falling pig prices lead to tighter margins for producers

Chenjun Pan, senior analyst in animal protein at Rabobank, said: “Pork continues to be a staple protein, holding its ground against more expensive meats like beef.”

Pork consumption is also expected to benefit from an increase in consumer spending as a result of economic recovery and reduced inflation.

However, in the short term, disruption to shipping routes and large stocks of pork in some countries will have an effect on global trade.

Ms Pan added: “We’re looking at a soft market for pork exports, especially with the ongoing crisis in the Red Sea and Suez Canal complicating European shipments to Asia.

“Lower feed costs are a welcome relief for pig farmers, improving margins in a time of uncertainty.”

UK forecast

Pork supply in the UK is expected to remain tight during the first half of 2024, with less pigs available.

Analysts have forecast that clean pig throughputs could then start to increase during the autumn, based on current market conditions.

UK finished pig prices remain higher than in mainland Europe, which may result in an increase in pork imports and add a level of competition to the domestic market.

However, import volumes are likely to be limited, with supply also tight on the Continent.