In a global scenario marked by significant changes, the pork and poultry global industry faces a 2024 of adjustments and challenges. Recent reports by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expect China to import less pork, beef, and poultry this year. More specifically, it estimates that the Asian giant will import 3 million tons less than in 2020, accounting for 17% of global exports of these proteins versus 25% in 2020. This drop in Chinese meat imports has already led exporters to redirect their products to other markets, increasing competition and even causing some drops in production. In spite of this, the general market outlook remains optimistic.


According to the USDA, a slight 1% drop in global pork production is expected in 2024, totaling 115.6 million tons. This decrease is mainly due to falling Chinese production, despite increases in the European Union, the United States, and Brazil. China is expected to produce 3% less pork, while the EU will see a 2% increase. Brazil will lead with a 4% increase, thanks to lower production costs and strong domestic and foreign demand. According to Rabobank, China, the United States, and some European countries could see a decline or stagnation in production this year, as their sow herds were smaller at the end of 2023.

In February, China reported an almost 7% drop as a strategy to fight oversupply and low prices. The pressure caused by African swine fever will further reduce production prospects worldwide. Other challenges, such as negative profit margins, oversupply, and weak demand are also driving these cuts. Meanwhile, productivity will continue to improve in 2024 thanks to genetic advances, better farm management, and cost reduction strategies, says Rabobank.

According to the Danish bank, pork is reasonably well positioned among consumers, given the inflationary pressure faced by other animal proteins. Consumers continue to prefer pork in key zones. Global pork consumption will therefore remain stable or even grow.

However, it should be noted that according to the USDA the pork oversupply will cause Chinese imports to drop 1% in 2024. China is thus expected to represent only 18% of global pork trade this year, a much lower figure than the 42% of 2020, when imports skyrocketed as a result of the sharp cut in Chinese production due to ASF.

The USDA emphasizes that other markets will make up for these changes. It is expected for Mexico’s pork imports to keep growing as consumer prefer pork over chicken and beef. Mexican pork imports are expected to grow 9% in 2024, pushing the country’s global exports share up 1% compared to 2023 and compensating lower pork imports from China.


Rabobank expects an improvement in poultry market conditions but prices will continue to command the market. The outlook for global poultry markets in 2024 remains moderately positive, with demand expected to gradually recover thanks to a higher affordability driven by lower costs, lower inflation rates, and higher revenues, says Rabobank in one of its latest quarterly reports.

This will lead consumers to be less price-focused in 2024 compared to 2023, supporting a recovery in demand for value-added poultry and foodservice. Some business opportunities in these markets will improve. However, Rabobank expects prices to continue being a key factor for consumers.

This goes in line with the USDA’s predictions, which expect global chicken production to grow almost 1% in 2024, reaching 104.2 million tons, mainly driven by increased production in Brazil, the United States, Egypt, Mexico, and Argentina, offsetting the significant drop in China. Chicken production in Brazil is expected to reach an all-time high of 15.1 million tons, driven by a strong foreign demand and lower production costs. Although corn and soybean prices remain high, a drop in feed prices is expected to boost production in many countries in 2024.

On the other hand, chicken production in China is expected to drop 6% due to decreased production of both white and yellow-feathered broilers given the restrictions related to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and the closure of live-bird markets.

Rabobank emphasizes that operational challenges will continue. Feed costs have dropped an average of 15% to 25% compared to 2023 levels. However, from a supply and demand perspective, global commodity prices seem to have reached an all-time low, primarily due to geopolitics, trade, and climate issues.

Trade could face challenges due to the geopolitical tensions in the Black Sea, attacks in the Red Sea, and the drought affecting the water level of the Panama Canal. Given the increased of alternative southern routes, these challenges could impact global trade, with rising costs, delays, and limited container availability. Trade flows to and from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa are especially vulnerable to changes.

Avian influenza (AI) continues to be a global concern. In the coming months, the threat of an outbreak will move to the southern hemisphere, where more countries are turning to vaccines to protect the industry. Particular attention will be paid to the risk of AI in key exporting countries such as Brazil and Thailand, where outbreaks could disrupt global market conditions and trade flows.

Although China’s poultry imports are expected to remain stable, global trade is expected to grow outside of China.