The first half of 2018 has seen a rise in meat production from the EU pig and poultry sectors. However, there have been contrasting results for each commodity’s price, as pig prices crash and poultry prices surge.
After contracting for two years, the EU pig herd expanded in 2017 following a price rise in 2016, according to an EU report on short-term outlooks for all sectors. The first half of the year has seen a considerably lower price and the latest survey of EU herds has shown herds are contracting again.
This contraction is yet to impact production figures, which are nearly 4% higher than for the same period in 2017. This is expected to reverse in 2019, when herd size reductions are felt and production is predicted to decline by 1%.
African swine fever is also a concern at present, where as of May this year it has been detected in herds in Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Although the disease has no harmful effects for humans, it can cause major losses on pig farms.
Since the disease was discovered in Belgium, 13 countries have suspended pork imports from the country. This has resulted in Belgian exporters having to find new destinations for 60% of their exports. The disease is yet to have an impact on overall EU trade, but the report warns this could change if more outbreaks are detected.
Having seen an outbreak of bird flu last winter, poultry production figures had been anticipated to rise. However, growth has been higher than expected (+4%) due to a reduction in imports from Brazil.
A salmonella outbreak in Brazil earlier in the year saw imports suspended and that has translated into a higher price for EU producers. Overall production is expected to finish 2% ahead of 2017 and stabilise in 2019, but this will depend on the timing of a complete resumption of trade with Brazil.
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