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Brazil reports higher quarterly pork exports

Despite a reduction in the volume of pig meat exports to two leading destinations in March, Brazil has continued year-on-year expansion in this trade for the first three months of 2024.

Pork Cuts Butcher
Jim McCarthy | BigStock.com

Despite a reduction in the volume of pig meat exports to two leading destinations in March, Brazil has continued year-on-year expansion in this trade for the first three months of 2024.

For the first quarter of the year, national exports were 5.3% higher year-on-year, reports the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA), while revenue from the trade was down.

Total fresh and processed pork export volume amounted to 289,400 metric tons (mt) for the year so far. However, revenue was down 7.5% compared with the same period of 2023 at just under US$598 million.

For ABPA President Ricardo Santin, the modest expansion in pork exports supports a positive forecast for the rest of the year. He also highlighted positive developments achieved in some of Brazil’s recently opened markets.

Nation’s pork exports contracted sharply for the month of March. At 91,900 mt, exports for the last month were 14% below the same month of 2023.

This reduction is mainly attributed to a 47% reduction in pig meat volume shipped to China. The leading destination market for Brazilian pig meat, the trade to China amounted to 19,300 mt in March. Contracting almost to the same extent, Brazil shipped just 7,400 mt of pork to Hong Kong.

In contrast, 14,600 mt of products were shipped in March to the Philippines, the second largest market for Brazilian pork exports. This represents an increase of 55% from the same month of last year.

Generally, pork sales to high-value markets have held up well so far this year, according Luis Rua, ABPA markets director.

These include the Philippines, he said, where the national authorities have recently authorized the Brazilian system with a view to expanding imports from the South American state.

Since mid-2019, the Philippines has been battling to control African swine fever (ASF). As the virus spread to affect all 17 regions of the country over the following years, imports have been required to stabilize the pork market. 

Outlook for Brazilian pork production

For 2023, ABPA reported a year-on-year increase of 9.8% in total pork exports at just under 1.23 million metric tons (mmt), with revenue 9.5% higher than in 2022 at approximately US$2.82 billion. This upward trajectory was forecast to continue into 2024.

A recent market analysis from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) forecasts a 6% year-on-year increase in Brazilian pork exports in 2024 to 1.5 mmt. This compares with its figure of 1.41 mmt for 2023.

Drivers for this continued growth are identified by FAS as increased pig production, strong demand in destination markets — new and existing — and Brazil’s advantageous animal health status compared with some of its competitors.

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