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Brazil achieves record pig meat exports

In 2019, Brazil exported a record volume of pork, 16.2% more than the 646,000 mt achieved the previous year.


While Brazilian pork exports were up more than 16% last year from the previous 12 months, average costs of production also rose for the country’s pig producers.

In 2019, Brazil exported 750,300 metric tons (mt) of pork. A record volume for the country, this was 16.2% more than the 646,000 mt achieved the previous year. According to the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA), revenue for these exports was just under US$1.6 billion. This represented an increase of 32% over the US$1.2 billion that the trade was worth in 2018.

For the month of December, Brazil exported 76,000 mt of fresh and processed pig meat — more than 35% more than in the same period of last year. At US$183.6 million, the monthly revenue also broke previous records.

Impact of African swine fever on pig meat trade

According to the ABPA, the main driver of this increase in Brazil’s pork exports was the African swine fever situation, particularly in Asia. China has suffered the greatest losses in its pork production capacity, and this was reflected in its significant increase in pork imports from other countries, including Brazil.

Brazil shipped 240,800 mt of pig meat products to China during 2019, an increase of 61% from the previous year, according to ABPA.

With its pig population also hard hit by the disease, Vietnam imported 13,540 mt more Brazilian pork products — almost 83% more than in 2018.

Ricardo Santin, executive director of ABPA, described the pig health situation in Asia as a factor that has reconfigured international meat trade.

Brazil also developed its pork trade to other regions, including Latin America and Europe. Within South America, it exported 44,540 mt of products to Chile — an increase of 29% year-on-year. Uruguay imported 40,480 mt of Brazilian pig meat in 2019, which is 13% more than the previous year’s trade. A further 35,280 mt were exported to Russia.

Prospects for 2020

Looking ahead to this year, ABPA president Francisco Turra said efforts would focus on strengthening existing trade partnerships, and exploring new markets.

In November 2019, China authorized more Brazilian processing plants for export, leading Santin to forecast even more pork trade in 2020.

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) forecast a 5.6% expansion in pig meat production by Brazil in 2019 compared with the previous year, and a further 4.6% in 2020.

Costs of pig production jumped sharply in December

For the final month of 2019, the index used to quantify the costs of hog production in Brazil jumped by 3.3% to 239. Known as ICPSuino, this average cost index was 8.6% higher than at the start of 2019.

The ICPSuino was created by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) and the National Food Supply Agency (Conab). It represents typical “full cycle” pig production system in the state of Santa Catarina, and index was set at 100 in 2011.

Of the total costs of pig production incorporated in ICPSuino, feed accounted for 77.4% in December 2019. Feed costs that month were 3.1% higher than in November, and 7.2% above the level at the start of 2019. Over the same period, the cost of maintenance and financing increased by around 1%, but all other cost categories rose by no more than 0.2%.

Brazil exported more poultry meat in 2019 than in the previous year, while the costs of production for Brazilian broiler growers also increased over the year.

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