European Union: Livestock and Products Annual

Coronavirus (COVID-19) put pressure on European Union (EU) slaughter rates and domestic beef consumption, and motivated farmers to hold on to their cattle. Despite a slowdown in slaughter, the trend of declining EU cow inventories is expected to continue. However, demand for EU pork rose as shipments to China doubled in the first half of 2020. Slaughter in Northwestern Europe, however, was distorted due to COVID-19 outbreaks at plants. Moreover, in September 2020, China and other major Asian markets imposed an import ban on German pork as a consequence of the recent African Swine Fever (ASF) case in Germany. The COVID-19 outbreak pressured hog and piglet prices and damaged farmer margins, and the ASF finding in Germany may as well. Despite production falling below previous forecasts, EU pork production is still forecast to rise in 2020, at levels sufficient to sustain exports to China. In 2021, pork production is forecast to further increase based on improved productivity and higher slaughter weights.

European Union: Livestock and Products Annual