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May 22, 2019


Global pork supplies 'redirected' to ASF-hit China to fill shortfall  

 

Continuing outbreaks of African swine fever in China have pushed global prices of pork up as importers from the country that consumes two-thirds of the world's pig meat are buying pork as far away as Europe to fill the shortfall in local meat production.


The US Department of Agriculture sees China's pork imports to soar 41% this year to 2.2 million tonnes from last year, according to an Associated Press report.


China's demand for imported pork has also caused shortages in other markets, AP said.


While consumers in Germany, Japan and other high-income markets are grudgingly paying more for kielbasa or tonkatsu, the live hog price in Cambodia, which is itself afflicted by ASF, jumped 37% in the past six months.


AP cited a Rabobank report that said this year's Chinese pork output might fall by up to 35%. FAO sees the fall at 10%.


Huge shortfall


The local shortfall is likely to match Europe's annual pork output and exceed US production by 30%, AP said, citing industry researchers.


The report said global supplies would be "redirected to China" and that the "unprecedented shift" in trade would likely cause shortages in other markets.


Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at the City University of Hong Kong, said the ASF outbreak's scale was unprecedented.


"This is probably the most complex animal disease we have ever had to deal with," Pfeiffer was quoted by AP as saying.


According to the US Department of Agriculture, "evidence mounts that China will be unable to eradicate ASF in the near term".

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