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Overview of This Week’s Pig Industry News

28 May 2012, at 11:51pm

ANALYSIS – A new report from FAO forecasts that global meat production will expand by almost two per cent in 2012, writes senior editor, Jackie Linden, with pig meat output expected to increase by three per cent. Annual growth in the sector in Chile has averaged nearly seven per cent. In the volatile pig cycles in China, the price of pork is dropping to the point where producers are making losses again. EU pig numbers have been revised for last year and now suggest a decline of 1.7 per cent in the December 2011 compared to the previous year.

Global meat production is set to expand by almost two per cent in 2012, according to the FAO’s latest Food Outlook report. A three per cent rebound in global pig meat production has been forecast for 2012. Growing investment and favourable market returns in Asian markets, particularly in China, are expected to result in a four per cent expansion in the region’s output.

Strong growth has been reported in pork production in Chile. The latest statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture reveal that production has increased by an average of 6.7 per cent annually between 2000 and 2010 to reach almost half a million tonnes, and it is the country's second favourite meat behind chicken.

The price of pork in China is continuing to drop, despite government intervention. Weak pork prices recently have resulted in an accumulated decline of 15.7 per cent and marked the 16th consecutive week of declines, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The hog-to-corn price ratio, a major indicator of pig farmers’ profitability, has fallen below 6.0 for the last five weeks due to cyclical fluctuations. A ratio of six is taken as the break-even level for pig producers.

The figures for the pig counts in December 2011 have been revised by France and Romania. The revisions mean that the provisional pig populations in the EU-27 have been adjusted for 2010 and 2011. The change means the reduction in the total pig numbers between those two years was just over 2.58 million or 1.7 per cent. The provisional EU total now stands at a little under 148.55 million for December 2011.

Compassion in World Farming has expressed concern and disappointment that the EU has recognised the US National Organic Programme as equivalent to its own, a move that comes into effect on 1 June. As it stands, the US organic standards on animal welfare are far lower than the EU standards, says CIWF.