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

What – no growth in Chinese pork imports?

The CEOs of pork processors and farmer organizations are fond of saying that there are big opportunities for pigmeat exporters to China. But do the numbers support this claim? No, they don’t 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

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