Domestic Pork Consumption Driving North American Pork Markets

Farmscape for November 21, 2022

Full Interview 11:18 Listen

An economist with Partners for Production Agriculture expects domestic demand for pork to be the key factor driving pork prices heading into 2023. “The North American Outlook for Pork” was among the topics highlighted last week as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2022 in Saskatoon. Dr. Steve Meyer, an economist with Partners for Production Agriculture says, while U.S. domestic pork demand has been stellar since the COVID shutdowns of 2020 and has been a key factor driving pork markets, it’s been a disappointing year for exports from both the U.S. and Canada.

Clip-Dr. Steve Meyer-Partners for Production Agriculture:
The problem is the same country, it’s different things. China is off dramatically in their imports of pork from all over the world and Canada had the problem of a bunch of plants being delisted due to China’s COVID protocols early in the year. They’ve got a few of those back but they could use some more. Our exports are going to end up down 10 to 12 percent for the year I think.

We’re down 14 percent year on year from last year through September. October, November, December will be better relative to last year than what the earlier part of the year was but we’re still going to end up down 10 percent. That’s a big disappointment to us.
That means that two and a half percent of our production stays on our market here. We export about 25 percent.
In addition, because Canada has had trouble exporting to China, our imports from Canada are up sharply this year and our total imports are up almost three percent.

So that’s another one and a half percent on our market, yet our retail prices are strong. Export demand hasn’t been great. Mexico has been the star for both of our countries and thank goodness they have been strong, but domestic demand has been stellar and so that’s kind of carried us so far. There have been years in the past when exports have been the big item carrying our market and domestic demand wasn’t so good and these last two years have been just the opposite.

Dr. Meyer says whether that will hold true in 2023 is a question. He sees the biggest threat to that being inflation, which might reduce the amount of discretionary dollars spent on meat.

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