Despite somewhat resilient consumption and demand for pig meat, the global pork market is under pressure according to a new report from Rabobank.

The agri-business claims production is slowing due to a contraction in sow herds in several key areas which coupled with disease is expected to reduce or flatten production.

In the report, Rabobank states China, the US, and some European countries throughout 2024 will be affected.

On a brighter note, continued consumer spending on pork when other protein meats are much more expensive coupled with reduced feed prices offers some hope.

Chenjun Pan, senior analyst at Rabobank, said: “We’re looking at a soft market for pork exports, especially with the ongoing crisis in the Red Sea and Suez Canal complicating European shipments to Asia.

“Despite production woes, there is a bright spot as feed prices continue to ease, with corn and soybean prices down 15% to 25% over the past year.

“Lower feed costs are a welcome relief for pig farmers, improving margins in a time of uncertainty.”

However, she cautioned that weather-related volatility could still impact supply and price movements.

Pork consumption has shown resilience in the face of inflation, with Rabobank’s report expecting a mild improvement in global pork consumption in 2024.

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“Pork continues to be a staple protein, holding its ground against more expensive meats like beef,” Ms Pan explained.

The easing of inflationary pressures and an economic rebound in some regions are likely to support this trend.

While some regions grapple with declining herds, others like Brazil are on the rise, driven by global demand.

Rabobank underscores the uneven growth across the globe, with ASF outbreaks and loss-making pressures accelerating breeding herd reductions in Asia, particularly China.

Ms Pan said she expected disease outbreaks to create ongoing uncertainty in 2024.

“Meanwhile, productivity will continue to improve in 2024, driven by genetic gains, better farm management, and cost reduction strategies.”