China’s hog prices set to confuse everyone

An official statement by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MARA) in the third week of January is translated as, “The price of pork Continue reading

Hard Brexit is “catastrophic” for the meat sector

The UK’s referendum result last year has certainly sparked a lot of debate and reporting about how UK, EU and global trade operates. It’s likely that many politicians and civil servants have moved up a steep learning curve on how international trade works. And that’s no bad thing. The latest contribution Continue reading

UK pig sector – looking up, and looking over the edge

Pig production in the UK has a long history but the stats suggest that the sector has shrunk significantly in the last two decades and it now provides only about half of the country’s pigmeat needs. Farmers have blamed the industry’s loss of competitiveness on: disease outbreaks, high feed prices, environmental regulations, the multiple retailers, and, Continue reading

China’s pork imports are in freefall

In July this year I wrote about the, “straws in the wind” that China’s March/April trade figures might represent.  I also introduced a new concept – the idea Continue reading

Hurricanes, and a perfect storm in the making

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have provided all the pictures and stories that the newscasts and newspaper columns could ever want in recent weeks.  Understandably, the focus has been on the here and now.  The US hog and pork industry has not been severely affected by Hurricane Irma but, at the time of writing, it remains to be seen if the tropical storm will affect facilities in North Carolina. In this Blog, however, I want to raise issues that go beyond the immediate impact of this extraordinary hurricane season. In particular, I want to draw attention to a “perfect storm” that Continue reading

China’s pork imports collapse in April

The two charts reproduced in this Blog are not comfortable viewing for Western pigmeat exporters.  Certainly, if the patterns shown here are repeated over the summer then Continue reading

50 shades of BREXIT

Well, the UK voters have had their “BREXIT election” and an unclear situation before the June 8 election in the UK has become even more unclear after the votes were counted. Indeed, what seemed to be a black and white decision by the UK electorate in a referendum twelve months ago has morphed into an increasing number of shades of grey ever since. Like a suicidal game of pass the parcel Continue reading

China’s pigmeat imports in 2017

The January issue of Whole Hog Brief presents a view and forecast of China’s pigmeat imports in 2016 and 2017. This Blog presents the short version of that article. Continue reading

Denmark’s pig production – modern, efficient, and changing

If an alien visitor from Mars commanded, “take me to your leading pig producing country” we would probably see spaceships landing in Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. That’s another way of saying that there are strong arguments for the Danish pig industry being the exemplar for the key metrics of global pig production and marketing in the 21st Century*. This is a strong statement especially Continue reading

Brexit – the shape and size of the iceberg becomes clear

In all the confusions and spin about the UK’s Brexit vote there was one obvious casualty – the facts. Sadly, the media (including the farming media) made little or no contribution to an informed and numerate description of what would be implied in the UK’s exit from the EU. This matters. It’s as if the crew of the Titanic were shouting to the passengers, “we know there is an iceberg there but we don’t think it is, “…very big/in our path/we can steer round it. You can rest safely in your cabins and/or order another drink from the bar.” Indeed. that is still the message from many Brexiteers.

I can accept that explaining the complexities of an EU exit (Brexit) is not easy – and I say that as someone with a PhD (majoring in international trade theory). But Continue reading