Early 2023 pork supply is tight, with some optimism for exports

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North American pork supply is predicted to be tight in the first quarter of 2023, with uncertainty around consumption levels, but there is hope for increased trade opportunities.

Cost pressure is increasing across the board from feed, to labour, to fuel. The value chain is feeling this inflationary pressure, says Christine McCracken, senior analyst of animal protein at Rabobank. One of these inputs, feed, could become more affordable in the year ahead, with better growing conditions for the ’23 crop.

But moderated feed prices take time to work their way in to wholesale prices, and may not be reflected in retail prices at all, as  distribution and labour costs continue to grow.

Going forward, McCraken says there is optimism about trade in the pork industry right now. Trade is a large part of the pork outlook for both Canada and the U.S. Recent currency weaknesses in Japan and Korea have slowed shipments into the Asian market, McCracken says, but there is hope for increased demand from China to make up for other losses in the pork trade with Asia.

From a trade competition perspective, there has been been less pork production in Europe, leaving opportunity for increased North American product, she says.

McCracken says she is watching what unfolds during Canada’s seeding and growing season. If there is another disruption in crop yields, there is little hope for offsetting feed costs.

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