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Pork market dynamics - challenges & opportunities ahead


The pork industry is navigating through a period of significant changes as highlighted in the latest Rabobank quarterly report. Production is anticipated to slow down due to reduced sow herds in key regions such as China, the US, and some European countries, impacting the pork supply throughout 2024.   

Diseases add to the sector's difficulty, while trade is expected to face a downturn in the first half of the year, especially affected by logistical issues in the Red Sea and Suez Canal. 

Not all news is grim.  The decline in feed prices, with corn and soybeans dropping 15% to 25% over the past year, brings a ray of hope. This reduction is a crucial factor in improving pig farmers' margins, offering some stability in uncertain times. 

Consumer demand for pork remains strong, undeterred by inflation. The report predicts a slight improvement in pork consumption globally, as pork retains its appeal against pricier alternatives like beef. This trend is supported by easing inflation and an economic upturn in certain areas. 

Regional differences in production are clear. For instance, Brazil is witnessing growth due to strong international demand, contrasting with Asia's struggle against African Swine Fever (ASF) and economic pressures.  

The industry outlook for 2024 is mixed, with challenges such as disease outbreaks and trade restrictions on one hand, and opportunities like improved farm management and genetic advancements on the other.  This balance of factors will continue to shape the global pork market in the coming year. 

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