EU - Following two successive years of contracted beef and pork domestic supply and demand, EU meat production and consumption is expected to recover in 2014.
Increased productivity in the pig meat sector could allow production to recover, following the strong decline in the sow herd observed in 2012 and 2013 linked to the implementation of the new EU welfare rules for sows, according to the British Pig Executive (BPEX).
First results of the December 2013 survey indicate a less pronounced decline in overall pig numbers of just 0.5 per cent compared to 2012 than the 1.9 per cent fall recorded in December 2012.
The 2013 net production went down by 0.7 per cent as result of high feed costs and the obligation to adapt to the welfare rules for pregnant sows. But due to the slightly higher piglet numbers (+0.4 per cent) together with an increase in productivity, slaughterings are expected to recover by 123,000 tonnes in 2014 and a further 173,000 tonnes in 2015.
In 2013, the restrictions imposed by China and Russia on the US pig meat related to the use of ractopamine created favourable conditions for EU pig meat exporters: total volumes shipped to third countries increased by 2.5 per cent year-on-year reaching 2.2 million tonnes. Exports to both major partners increased - by 10 per cent to Russia and by 26 per cent to China and Hong Kong together - these destinations making up for 49 per cent of total pig meat volumes exported from the EU.
In 2014, exports might slightly decrease due to the current trade disruptions with Russia. However, the steady growing demand in China might partially compensate for this reduction.
Tight availabilities and strong world demand maintained 2013 producer prices at high levels, on average 2.9 per cent higher than a year earlier. A record was reached in September of €191 per 100kg).
This contributed to a further contraction in total consumption by one per cent, bringing per-capita consumption to its lowest level in recent years.
In 2014, increased production and slightly lower prices should inverse the trend and overall consumption is expected to be 0.6 per cent higher. The recovery might go on in 2015 (+0.9 per cent)
TheMeatSite News desk