Reduced demand from China and lower consumption figures in the single market are to impact the output for the European pig industry.

Pig meat production in the EU is expected to fall this year as some of the main producers in the bloc (Germany) are banned from several large export markets due to ASF outbreak. In the medium-term outlook for agricultural markets published by the European Commission, demand for EU pig meat is expected to decline in the short-term. This is a result of the anticipated recovery in China’s production levels, which will likely reduce import demand from Europe over the next year. EU pig meat production is expected to fall from a forecast of 22.9 million tonnes in 2020 to 22.7 million tonnes in 2021. EU exports are expected to fall from a forecast of 4.3 million tonnes in 2020 to 3.9 million tonnes in 2021.

Nevertheless, for 2020 (Jan-Nov) production in the EU, excluding the UK, was 21 million tonnes, 0.7% higher than at the same point in 2019. This small increase comes against a background of disruption and uncertainty that no country has escaped. Still, the picture in the EU is mixed. Continuing the long-term trend, Spanish production dominated the picture, underpinned by a strong export trade. In November alone, slaughter in Spain increased by 15% year on year.

This is in stark contrast to Germany; beset by problems with African Swine Fever (ASF) in its wild boar herd and COVID-19 related processing capacity constraints, slaughter fell by 6% (310,000 head) year on year in November. Production in Germany fell by nearly 3% (128,000 tonnes) in the year to November overall. Italy has experienced even more severe declines, with production in the year to November falling by nearly 14% (180,000 tonnes).

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