Caixin
Nov 23, 2019 06:33 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

China Breeding Sow Stock Rises in October for First Time Since Swine Fever Outbreak

Photo: VCG
Photo: VCG

China’s pork production is showing signs of recovery as the inventory of breeding sows registered the first month-on-month increase in October since the outbreak of deadly African swine fever last year, official data showed.

The country’s stock of breeding sows rose 0.6% in October from the previous month, the first growth since April 2018, Yang Zhenhai, chief of the animal husbandry and veterinary medicine bureau under China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said at a news conference on Friday.

At the same time, the overall stock of pigs fell 0.6% month-on-month in October, with the decline slowing from declines of 3% in September and 9.8% in August, said Yang.

Since the first case of African swine fever was reported in China in August 2018, the devastating disease has wiped out a significant portion of the country’s hogs and caused severe pork supply shortages and soaring prices. Industry analysts expect the country’s pork production will drop as much as 40% this year.

In October, the per-kilogram market price of pork rose 20.2% from the previous month and doubled from a year earlier, according to a monthly market analysis (link in Chinese) from the agricultural ministry. The per-kilogram price of live pigs rose 24.3% from the previous month and was up 140% from October 2018.

The world’s top pork consumer has since boosted pork imports from the U.S. and other countries to fill the huge supply gap. The move has even tightened pork supply in the U.S. and Europe as meat processors around the world ship more pork to China, driving up pork prices globally.

Yang said given the progress has been made in disease prevention and control, the government expects the domestic stock of pigs to return to 80% of normal levels by the end of next year.

Higher output of meat substitutes has also made up a part of the pork supply shortage, said Yang. In the first three quarters of this year, production of beef rose 3.2% year-on-year and mutton rose 2.3%.

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (ziyitang@caixin.com)

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