The slaughter of pigs advanced in the country in 2019. The evident motivation was only one: the massive presence of China on the market, importing substantial volumes of Brazilian animal protein. Pork exports did not show an even more significant jump in 2019 for two reasons. The first concerns the meat-packers accredited to export to China, which operated at full capacity, unable to expand their slaughtered volume. The other limitation is the presence of ractopamine in Brazilian pork, a substance banned in China. So that Brazil can leverage its shipments in 2020, it is necessary that new units are accredited.
Optimism is great, but there are some foci of uncertainty that need to be overcome, starting with the coronavirus epidemic, which has substantially reduced Chinese purchases. New orders from Chinese importers are not happening. In addition, the phase 1 of the trade deal between the United States and China leads to believe in a significant volume of US pork destined for the Asian country, hampering Brazilian exports.
According to federal, state and municipal inspection data, the slaughter volume in Brazil showed an interesting growth last year. In 2019 slaughter reached 41.12 million head, against 40.53 million head in 2018, which represents an increase of 1.5%. The trend still points to growing slaughter in view of the renewed mood of pig farmers after a very positive year, which motivates the increase in herds. However, the aforementioned setbacks can produce unpleasant consequences to the domestic market if there is no continuity in the good pace of shipments. The only alternative for the sector is to wait, as the issues intrinsic to the meat market are not simple to solve, requiring a rational vision to avoid harmful conditions for the activity.