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

Hold tight – 2015 will be a rollercoaster!

The front page of the December issue of Whole Hog presents the key data from the USDA’s quarterly hog census (released 23 December). These numbers suggest that  the global pig industry faces a boom and bust scenario in 2015. The impact of PEDv has created ideal conditions for supply shortages/price increases/production hikes in North America but Continue reading

The pig industry’s Ebola moment

I visited Uganda earlier this year and that part of West Africa was (and is) free of the Ebola virus. The population there has been lucky so far. Similarly, in Western Europe we are watching the outbreak and its toll of death and human tragedy and, I am sure, also feeling very lucky that we are not directly affected. But, for those with short memories, I will use this column Continue reading

Back to the future in Russia

With the latest developments in Russia and the ban on food imports from the EU, the USA, Canada, Australia and Norway, we have an example of how the Russian economy can be thrown off course by political events. The economy will not develop properly until politicians stop meddling with markets. As far as pork is concerned Russia imports about a quarter of its pigmeat needs and this ban will hit some of the world’s big pork exporters – but it could hurt Russians much more than the exporting countries in the short run and it’s safe to predict the Continue reading

Not Yum Yum but Yuk Yuk!

The latest food scare in China is a surprise to some but not to those who work on the factory floor in the industry. Worse, even without visiting these factories the scandal at Shanghai Husi Food  was predictable and the shiny suited execs in their offices in Shanghai. Hong Kong and Illinois (Reuters reports that Shanghai Husi is owned by the OSI Group Inc., a global food processor based in Aurora, Illinois) should have been thinking harder about what could go wrong. Why do I say this? Continue reading

Brazil’s soccer success not matched by its pork export performance

 It’s the World Cup and Brazil will be in the news this month as soccer players show off their skills. Brazil is famous for its soccer and its economy has grown in the last decade with its agriculture and agri-business  pushed to perform at world class levels. But has Brazil’s pig industry been winning in the global market for pork exports and can it top the league of global pork exporters in the future?   At first sight Continue reading

PEDv drives a hog price rollercoaster – have we been here before?

US hog prices

The chart shown alongside shows how US hog prices have risen – and fallen – in response to the spread of PEDv.  From late February onwards a mixture of fear and greed, mainly driven by market rumour, has driven hog prices up and up. Prices have moved up to be about 60-70% higher than at the same time last year and commentators are full of talk about “record highs”. Price shocks like this don’t happen often in national or global markets Continue reading

India’s election raises the stakes for meat prices

Meat prices are on the up and up – and now the candidate tipped to be the next Prime Minister of India has added another reason for prices to stay up a bit longer: pork producers should take note.  Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate from Gujarat, has recently repeated his view Continue reading

Will America’s PEDv stymie President Putin’s EU pork ban?

A month or so ago the Russian ban on imports of pork from the EU looked like it might hit Europe’s pig producers very hard indeed. Around 25% of the EU’s exports of pigmeat are destined for Russia in an average week so the sudden cessation of this trade on the pretext of finding African Swine Fever (ASF) in a few wild boars in Lithuania and Poland would be expected to  have a very depressing effect on prices. And indeed this was the initial impact. But then Continue reading