General

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

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

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

Rabobank retreats from its China forecast

In July this year the Rabobank published its view of where global pork prices were going in the second half of 2015. It was entitled, “China’s Shrinking Hog Herd to Ignite Global Pork Trade” and it centred on the apparently huge reduction in the Chinese pig breeding herd. From this observed “fact” Rabobank predicted that Continue reading

China’s latest export – panic

If you have been on holiday this week on a sun-kissed, internet-free tropical island you may not have noticed that the news coming out of China has not been good. Indeed, it has been a wake up call for those observers who have not paid close attention to the various statistics that the Chinese economy offers as a measure of its activity. There may be some lessons in this for the global pig industry. Continue reading

Hogmageddon in the autumn?

The US hog price has behaved like the proverbial dead cat in the last few months. It was falling and then it bounced – and now it’s back on the floor, twitching. I fear this may portend a very weak global hog price in the autumn. Indeed, we may finally get “hogmageddon”. This contrasts with Continue reading

When is a trend not a trend or, is this the right way to Dublin?

You may have heard the old joke about the American tourist who asked a local Irishman how he should get to Dublin and the Irishman replied, “It depends on where you start from.” That doesn’t sound too helpful but, of course, it is a very precise response – and true. Sometimes I feel like that Irishman when I am asked, Continue reading

What would you do with $2 trillion?

January’s issue of Whole Hog Brief covers a range of subjects including: German hog numbers, exchange rate changes, weakening pig prices in the EU, North America and China, and the faltering export performance of US and Canadian packers but there is one issue that I want to highlight here Continue reading