IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘U.S. – Pork (Meat Of Swine) – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights‘. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

Over the previous year, the U.S. has seen pork exports expand to a record high, largely as a result of unprecedented demand from China and the Philippines, where livestock numbers have fallen dramatically after the outbreaks of African swine fever. 

The U.S. is forecast to achieve a 5% growth in pork production in 2021 and exports are projected to remain high, driven by robust both domestic and foreign demand.

Key trends and insights
In 2020, American pork exports reached a record 2.4M tonnes (IndexBox estimates), an increase of 26% against the previous year. The key destinations for pork exports can be listed as follows: China (733K tonnes), Japan (350K tonnes) and Mexico (571K tonnes), accounting for 70% of supplied pork. 

Pork exports from the U.S. to China increased by 109% y-o-y in 2020. Following an outbreak of African swine fever in 2018, China’s pig livestock population decreased by 27%. It forced the country to offset these losses with meat supplies from abroad which still continue. 

The Philippines and Vietnam were also similarly affected by the spread of swine fever, and American pork exports to both countries surged in 2020. The reduction in import tariffs for American products under the current trading agreement between the U.S. and Japan have triggered a 10% increase in pork exports.

Exports to Mexico, however, declined in 2020 due to a fall in the peso exchange rate and a slump in the country’s consumer purchasing power. Export supplies to Columbia emerged on a downward trend following the introduction of Covid restrictions. 

A decline in American pork exports to China is projected in the near term, as China’s livestock numbers start to recover. Exports to the markets in Mexico, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam are forecast to increase, thereby securing promising prospect for American pork suppliers in 2021. 

According to the USDA forecasts, pork production is set to increase by 5% this year, driven by strong domestic demand and the above-mentioned export opportunities.

Pork production in the U.S.
In 2020, production of pork increased by 1.9% to 13M tonnes, rising for the sixth year in a row. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.4% over the period from 2012 to 2020; the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being observed in certain years. 

The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2015 with an increase of 7.3% against the previous year. Over the period under review, production hit record highs in 2020 and is likely to see gradual growth in the near future. 

In value terms, pork production reached $32.7B in 2020. Overall, production continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2014 with an increase of 9.2% against the previous year. As a result, production reached the peak level of $34.2B. From 2015 to 2020, production growth remained at a somewhat lower figure.

Pork exports by country
In value terms, pork exports surged to $6B (IndexBox estimates) in 2020. The total export value increased at an average annual rate of +2.7% from 2012 to 2020; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. 

As a result, exports reached the peak and are likely to continue growth in the immediate term.

China (733K tonnes), Mexico (571K tonnes) and Japan (350K tonnes) were the main destinations of pork exports from the U.S., with a combined 70% share of total exports. These countries were followed by South Korea, Canada, Australia, Colombia, Chile and the Dominican Republic, which together accounted for a further 21%.

In value terms, the largest markets for pork exported from the U.S. were China ($1.6B), Japan ($1.5B) and Mexico ($922M), together comprising 68% of total exports.

China saw the highest growth rate of the value of exports, in terms of the main countries of destination over the period under review, while shipments for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

The average pork export price stood at $2,545 per tonne in 2020, approximately equating the previous year. Overall, the export price continues to indicate a slight downturn. There were significant differences in the average prices for the major foreign markets. 

In 2020, the country with the highest price was Japan ($4,291 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Mexico ($1,614 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.