US Pork Export Outlook: How to Save Our Own Bacon as China Rebuilds

November 2020

Key Points

  • U.S. pork exports to China have skyrocketed this year as African Swine Fever (ASF) eroded two-thirds of China’s hog herd and drove its hog prices to new record highs.
  • Greater China now accounts for nearly 8% of U.S. pork production, but China’s pork market is showing the early signs of herd rebuilding: Hog prices have fallen 30% from their peak a year ago.
  • The opportunistic nature of China’s buying of U.S. pork when their supplies are tight increases the risk of U.S.-to-China pork trade returning to pre-ASF levels.
  • China’s pork production is expected to recover in the next 3-5 years. This increases the risk of an oversupply of U.S. pork if exports to other markets, primarily in Asia and Latin America, are unable to absorb this supply.
  • The loss of exports to China would likely lead to difficult conditions for producers and processors alike, but the U.S. pork sector can take steps to help dampen the stress of this loss in demand.

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