Pork consumption in Europe is falling, exports are high
Europe is best positioned to take advantage of China's increased demand for pork shows the latest outlook released by the European Commission. Despite the fact that pork consumption in the EU is expected to drop by 1.4% this year, production will remain steady (+ 0.3% y-o-y) thanks to growing exports.
The forecast export growth of 12% is driven by China and this trend will continue in 2020. Nevertheless, higher prices will limit the EU consumption of pork and making consumers in the block to switch to other proteins, particularly poultry.
The European pork producers will maintain this advantage over their competitors as long as trade frictions between the US and China will continue. At this moment, Spain is increasing its market share in China thanks to free access of Spanish pork in this market and gains a profit of $50 over the American competitors. At the end of 2018, Spain was holding a 17% market share in China's pork imports, almost equal to the one reported by Germany.
Due to the fact that Germany's pig production has declined in the last 12 months, producers in this country are importing live pigs from other European countries to maintain their market share in China. In the first quarter of the year, Germany imported 1.8 million pigs from the Netherlands. The overall number of pigs in Germany fell between May 2018 and 2019 by 3.7% to 25.9 million head, with fattening pigs inventory falling by 5% to 11.3 million head.