UTRECHT, The Netherlands — Rabobank’s recently published Animal Protein Outlook for 2019 says growth in animal protein continues, but it is slowing down.

The report also warns that continuing geopolitical tension and diseases, particularly African Swine Fever, could affect livestock and the meat market next year.

“Food producers face a melting pot of risks,” said Justin Sherrard, global strategist – Animal Protein at Rabobank. “Although it’s possible that not all of them will come to pass, they need to be prepared for a difficult and worrying year in 2019.”

In its report, Rabobank highlighted how much the US trade war with China shaped 2018 and its potential to do the same next year.  

Rabobank went onto say that US meat exporters will seek out new trading partners forcing China to turn to Brazil, Canada and the European Union to fill the pork demand.

Rabobank also expects North America to have strong growth in production in all species, led by pork. The study estimates that beef production would be up 3 percent, broilers up 3 percent and pork up 5 percent in 2019.

For China, biosecurity is a top issue and concern causing pork production to be down.

In its report Rabobank said it “expects the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) to continue to have a global impact on pork production, proving especially harmful in China with a decline in supply, rising prices and higher imports.”

China is also expected to see poultry supply stay flat, with white-bird production declining and other species rising. Beef supply should grow steadily, with more volume coming from imports.

In the European Union, poultry production continues to grow while pork and beef are stable.

For Brazil, production is growing in all species of animal protein. Exports are expected to rebound in 2019 after poultry and pork exports were strongly challenged this year particularly in their major markets of Saudi Arabia and China.

Southeast Asia has seen modest growth with poultry exports benefitting from the US-China trade war. Countries will also see beef prices increase with a growing demand to export to China. 

Finally, Australia and New Zealand are expected to see beef and sheep meat decline, but prices are expected to stay the same in 2019.