Economic Tidbits

Pork Prices Propel Higher

Continuing with the theme of USDA projections for livestock markets, this week Tidbits turns its attention to pork.

Like beef, African Swine Fever (ASF) in Asia is forecast to have profound impacts on pork markets next year. The USDA forecasts U.S. pork production this year at 27.62 billion pounds, up 5 percent compared to last year. Imports are projected at 958 million pounds, down from last year, and exports at 6.5 billion pounds, up more than 10 percent. U.S. consumers’ love affair with bacon remains strong. Domestic per capita pork consumption is projected to be 52.1 pounds this year, up more than one pound from last year. Average barrow and gilt prices this year are projected at $48/cwt., just over $2/cwt. higher than last year, mostly due to the larger export volumes and increased domestic consumption.

The USDA pegs 2020 pork production at 28.69 billion pounds, 3.8 percent higher than this year. U.S. imports are forecast to be down 4.5 percent and exports are expected to grow 12.4 percent next year—hello China and Asia. The production losses in China and neighboring countries due to ASF will spur increased imports by these countries. U.S. exports to China are expected to grow despite retaliatory tariffs in place on U.S. product. U.S. consumers are forecast to consume 52.2 pounds per person, slightly higher than this year. Hog prices are forecast to surge to an average of $58/cwt., almost 18 percent higher next year.


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