Brazil’s pork availability must remain stable in 2021


Porto Alegre, September 23, 2020 – The availability of Brazilian pork must grow 0.2% in 2021, according to estimates by SAFRAS & Mercado, a positive factor that must maintain a good price level throughout the chain. The first point to be noted is that Brazilian exports will continue to be strong next year, and it could not be different, considering that China will continue to act with intensity in purchases. The complete recovery of the Chinese herd will not take place until 2023. The trend is that China will start to reduce its imports in mid-2021, albeit slowly, as its production moves forward, which must not compromise business with Brazil.

A recent estimate from USDA pointed out that the herd of matrices in China must start 2021 with 31 million head, up 15% from 27 million in early 2020, but far from the herd of 43.61 million head in early 2018. The total pig herd in the country at the end of 2021 is estimated at 370 million head, which accounts for 80% of the levels before the ASF.

The Chinese government has implemented great incentives and ambitious goals for the complete restoration of herds between 2020 and 2021, which must not happen. The search for genetics has grown but still at a low level for an accelerated recovery. A recent fact that could impact the business dynamics in the last quarter of 2020 and next year globally is ASF in Germany (the second-largest exporter in the European Union), which has so far hit wild boars near the Polish border.

A limiting factor for a stronger movement of Brazilian shipments is the number of plants able to export to China, which are likely to operate with high capacity throughout 2021. New qualifications would be necessary, coming up against the issue of ractopamine, used in large part Brazil, but prohibited in the Asian country. According to SAFRAS, Brazilian exports must advance to 1.137 million tons in 2021, an increase of 10.2% compared to the estimated 1.032 million tons for 2020, being able to absorb production growth almost entirely, thus, the market balance will remain strictly linked to China’s purchases.

The production of Brazilian pork meat in 2021 was projected at 4.808 million tons against 4.694 million tons this year, an increase of 2.4%. The number of slaughtered pigs must grow throughout 2021, but the average weight of animals must remain reduced in the first half, mainly due to the high cost of production, causing farmers to hold animals on the farms for the shortest possible time. The scenario for corn in the first semester is becoming complicated, with the possibility of shortages at some point. Owing to the high price of soybeans in 2020, growers will plant more areas with this commodity, so with a lower summer corn crop. Another point that can complicate is the weather. Soybeans, on the other hand, must continue with high prices, which may only decline from March/April. For corn, the environment must improve with the 2021 second crop. Thus, the cost profile tends to show relief during the second semester next year, which must favor the increase in the average weight of pigs.