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18 Aug 2023

Econ Digest

The trend of pork prices in Thailand in 2023


        Retail pork prices in Thailand during the first 8 months of 2023 decreased by 11-14%YoY on average, mainly due to the following 3 factors:

  1. Domestic swine production has gradually recovered following the easing of the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak. Therefore, it is expected that swine production in 2023 may increase to 1.31 million tons from 1.16 million tons in 20221 (up 13%YoY). However, the number of swine produced and pig farmers has not returned to the level prior to the ASF outbreak yet.
  2. Prices of animal feed materials in the world market have reduced as compared to the previous year, which surged to a record-high due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war. Soybean prices in the world market during the production season of October 2022-July 2023 decreased by 27.7%YoY, while maize prices in the world market during the first 8 months of 2023 decreased by 13.5%YoY2. It helps alleviate the burden of raw materials costs, which account for approximately 60-70% of total costs of pork processors.
  3. Continued expansions of imports of live pigs as well as chilled and frozen pork. According to data of Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, live pig imports during the first 6 months of 2023 increased by 50% over 2022, registering a growth of 268%YoY. Meanwhile, imports of chilled and frozen pork increased by 14% over 2022, registering a growth of 864%YoY. The proportion of such imports to total domestic production remained small or less than 1% in both 2022 and the first half of 2023. Nonetheless, the smuggling of pork into Thailand may affect business operators and domestic pork prices, although the smuggled amount cannot be clearly counted.   

        KResearch views that domestic retail pork prices for the remainder of 2023 may stabilize at the average seen during the first 8 months of the year, resulting in the prices for full-year 2023 to shrink from the previous year, but remaining higher than the level prior to the ASF outbreak. It is expected that retail prices of sliced pork belly, sliced pork buttocks and pork tenderloin will be THB200-205/kg, THB160-165/kg and THB185-190/kg on average, respectively. Looking ahead, domestic retail pork prices may increase further along with the production cost, as animal feed prices tend to fluctuate upwards due to the impact of climate change, coupled with rising farm management costs and other operating costs.

1 Projected by the Office of Agricultural Economics
2 Data from the USDA showed that Brazilian soybean prices during the production season of October 2022 – July 2023 stayed at USD1,112/ton as compared to USD1,538/ton during October 2021 – July 2022. Data from Thailand’s Department of Internal Trade showed that the corn futures prices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange during the first 8 months of 2023 were at THB8.24/kg as compared to THB9.53/kg of the same period last year.

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