ASF epidemic contained, but global meat and feed grain sectors still face impact
Published: Apr 23, 2019 08:28 PM

A woman buys pork on Thursday. Photo: IC

China has contained African Swine Fever (ASF) after eight months of outbreaks at pig farms around the country, but the global meat and feed grain sectors are still feeling the impact.

The ASF outbreak has slowed down, and pork output, allocation and transport are speeding up to restore order, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Tuesday.

A total of 23 provinces and regions have lifted their quarantines, the ministry told a press conference on Tuesday.

Although ASF is under control, pork prices are still set to rise while feed grain imports fall, analysts said. The situation reflects earlier countermeasures like culling infected pigs and farmers' hesitancy to resume production.

Hog output was dramatically depressed in the first quarter, reaching 188 million, down by 5.1 percent year-on-year, data from the ministry showed. Hog prices will rebound to the 2016 level by the fourth quarter this year, the ministry forecast.

A total of 1.02 million pigs have been culled since the outbreak in August 2018, according to the ministry.

Prices are expected to surge after the weeklong National Day holidays beginning October 1, Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of based in Central China's Henan Province, told the Global Times Tuesday.

"Farmers won't immediately resume production after the epidemic, afraid of suffering further losses," Jiao said.

Pork imports are expected to increase as stockpiles are consumed, Jiao added.

China is expected to import more meat in 2019, according to a report issued by the US Department of Agriculture on April 9.

Lower hog supplies this year will likely cause 10 percent decline in production. Imports will partially offset lower supplies, with the EU, Canada, Brazil and US all expected to boost shipments to China, the report said.

The faltering of the Chinese pork industry will reshape global trade in both meat and fodder supply, according to a report by financial services firm INTL FCStone. The company's chief commodities economist, Arlan Suderman, told the Global Times on Tuesday that China, the largest hog consumer, with a market share of 49 percent, is also the largest importer of soybeans, a primary protein source for hog farming.

"For American farmers, this would mean a significant reduction in soybean exports, even if trade talks with China lead to a lowering of tariffs," said Suderman.

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