Livestock outlook clouded by disease, trade issues

The outlook for global livestock markets is clouded by the tariff war between the United States and China and African Swine Fever in China, say three members of Agri-Food Economic Systems at Guelph.

(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

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The outlook for global livestock markets is clouded by the tariff war between the United States and China and African Swine Fever in China, say three members of Agri-Food Economic Systems at Guelph.

“Events of this apparent magnitude, if they remain in place for long, can be highly disruptive to global supply chains,” said Douglas Hedley, Agri-Food Economic Systems Associate and co-author of the report.

“The risk of shortages perceived by major importers cause them to seek out alternative suppliers, and many of the assumptions about how the trade works could be re-written”.

Ted Bilyea, another co-author of the report, said, “the retaliation against the U.S. steel and aluminum duties on soybeans and pork could open new opportunities for competitors to the U.S. and it appears that these are being actively developed, but the landscape is complex, the situation is highly fluid, and will take time to develop – even with major changes in the fundamentals in place.”

Al Mussell, the third co-author, said the gap in protein supply could open “a game-changing opportunity” for exports of canola products, soybeans, pork, and beef, “but it is also fraught with risk, and if 2018 proves to be a sentinel year requiring a change in assumptions as to how these markets and trade will work, we will need much more analysis to properly understand it.”

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