Outlook for the Brazilian swine market during the COVID-19 pandemic

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The prices of live pigs and the main wholesale cuts do not find room for readjustments at this time, amid a slow business environment between wholesale and retail, a picture that should show little change in the rest of the fortnight. There is some concern about how demand will behave in the coming few weeks, with the deepening of the COVID-19 crisis, which has led to the closure of part of commerce, of the public sector, schools, restaurants and other sectors of the country. In the short term, prices tend to find some support, considering that domestic availability is balanced. One of the possible scenarios in view of the restriction of individuals in their family environments is that there is a greater intensity of purchases, to ensure self-sufficiency, with the uncertainties surrounding the duration of protective measures against the spread of the disease.

For the medium term, demand tends to suffer from the slowdown in economic activity and the increase in the number of unemployed in the country, as a result of the pandemic. The government has adopted some measures that aim to prevent at least a sharp rise in lay-offs, but families will be more cautious with the fall in economic activity and should tighten spending for some period. Thus, the balance of availability and prices in the Brazilian pig market will be even more dependent on a high flow of exports and massive purchases by China and Hong Kong.

A point that should be remembered is that there will hardly be a cut in pork production in Brazil in 2020, since pork prices remain at good levels. Moreover, breeders estimate that the situation in the Chinese pig market remains complicated due to the large supply gap caused by African swine fever.