A new assessment by FAO says global pigmeat production in 2008 will increase by almost 2% to 101 million tons after a 3% decline in 2007 which was largely the result of culling of pigs in China following that country's outbreak of PRRS. This year, output in China is foreseen to expand more than 1%.

In South America, an increase in pigmeat production is anticipated in virtually all producing countries for the fourth consecutive year. Argentina, Brazil and Chile, which have ample feed supplies, are the main contributors to the 4% output expansion projected for the region. In Russia, production is set to grow by more than 6% in 2008 as the pig population increases. US pork output could also be higher. But in Canada and the European Union, where output last year was at cyclical highs, production is expected to decline in 2008. Vietnam's production is also affected by PRSS and culling of infected animals will reduce the national growth in production for 2008.

A feature of the world pigmeat trade will be shipments to Korea from Chile, benefiting from lower import duties agreed in the Korean-Chile Free Trade Agreement. Purchases by Japan are expected to increase by 2%, in line with increased domestic demand and a reduction in national production brought by high feed costs.