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EU: Reduced pigmeat production expected this year

High costs and lasting effects of ASF are expected to push EU pigmeat production downwards in 2022. EU exports should also decrease due to ASF issues in spite of recovering exports to the UK.


According to the European Commission’s spring Short-Term Outlook for EU Agricultural Markets in 2022, input costs are to push pigmeat production downwards this year and Brexit and ASF-related issues continue shaping trade.

In late 2021, high input costs combined with low pigmeat prices resulted in low margin prospects and pushed EU pig producers to reduce the number of breeding sows by 3.6% in 2021. However, pigmeat prices have increased by 32% in a month as of mid-March 2022, reaching EUR 178/100 kg (16% above the 5-year average).Whether this trend will continue is uncertain and this is not expected to be sufficient to compensate for the losses of previous months and the higher input costs (energy and feed), which are expected to last.

As a result of those squeezed margins, EU pigmeat production is expected to decrease by 3% in 2022. The production decrease in 2022 is expected to be the strongest in DE, PL and RO because of ASF. The production in DK may remain stable in 2022, while in ES it may increase by 3%.

Animals could be sent to slaughter younger – and lighter – than usual to save on feed costs, given that the feed conversion ratio tends to decrease as the animals grow. The average carcass weight steadily increased by about 400 g/year over the 2011-2021 period, to reach 94 kg in 2021. In 2021 pigmeat consumption increased by 2.9%. Reduced availability in 2022 could push consumption downwards by 3.1% in 2022.

EU pigmeat exports to China dropped in 2021 and are expected to continue decreasing, as strikingly shown by ES export destinations. Most Asian countries do not accept regionalisation of exports from EU countries affected by ASF. This is why, for instance, DE lost its access to the Chinese and Japanese markets in late 2020. Moreover, exports to Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are expected to be drastically reduced following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Those lost exports opportunities could be only partially compensated by recovering exports to the UK and increased opportunities in the Philippines, the United States, Australia, Vietnam, Chile and the Ivory Coast. Overall, pigmeat exports are expected to decrease by 2.2% in 2022.

EU imports from the UK decreased significantly in 2021 but started recovering at the end of the year. They are expected to continue increasing in 2022, with Brexit-related logistical issues gradually being resolved. Overall, EU pigmeat imports are expected to increase by 9.1% in 2022, but remain very low compared to exports.

April 5, 2022/ European Commission Union.

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Proyecto financiado por el Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER) de la Unión Europea y la Junta de Castilla y León, a través del Instituto para la Competitividad Empresarial de Castilla y León (ICE), con el objetivo de desarrollar la economía digital.
Expediente nº: 06/18/SO/0017
Plazo de realización: 31 de Marzo de 2023.