China’s Swine Fever Outbreak Sets off Scrap Over Pork

Posted April 29, 2019

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Rurika Imahashi, Marimi Kishimoto & Togo Shiraishi – Nikkei Asian Review)

The outbreak of African swine fever that is ravaging China’s pig farmers is sending shock waves through Asia’s market for imported meat. Importers in the region face a battle with Chinese buyers, while exporters reap a windfall.

The virus that causes ASF has no cure. Although it is harmless to humans, it is highly infectious and deadly to pigs.

China’s latest outbreak struck in August 2018 and rapidly spread to 30 provinces. In January, the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs revealed that it has culled 900,000 pigs since the epidemic began.

Dutch bank Rabobank, estimates that China’s hog herd will fall 30% to 40% this year versus 2018. “The pork meat production decline is expected to be between 9 million and 15 million tons, depending on the disease’s development in the next few months,” said Chenjun Pan, senior analyst for animal protein at Rabobank. “It’s not very likely that the rest of the world will be able to fill the supply gap in China, given the sheer size of China’s pork production.” Click here to read more.