China is releasing meat reserves in the market
The Chinese government decided to release meat reserves in the market to stop the spike in pork prices registered in the last couple of months. The Ministry of Commerce is going to work closely with other departments to ease the upward pressure on prices and to release some of the country's reserves of meat in the market, according to AgriCensus.
Is not only pork that is going to put in the domestic market, mentioned the ministry’s spokesman Gao Feng. "Central reserves of frozen pork, beef and lamb are to be released in due course, in order to increase supply in the meat market. We will continue to encourage and expand pork imports", he said. The ministry did not specify how much frozen meat will be released to the market from its reserves.
ASF has slashed China’s pork supply since the outbreak began in August of last year, causing pork production in the first half of 2019 to fall 5.5%, based on Chinese government data.
By July of this year, the country’s pig herd had fallen by more than 32% compared with the same month of 2018, as more than 150 outbreaks of ASF have been found across every province in the country since August 2018. Analysts expect China’s total pork imports to reach a record high of 1.7-2 million tonnes this year, up from 1.19 million tonnes in 2018.
The average production of pork in China is at 54-55 million tonnes per year but these figures are expected to drop in the next years as the disease is going to take its toll on the Chinese pig herd. Also, the necessary time to rebuild the herd is estimated at 5 years. Currently, China has stopped pork imports from Canada and increased the tariffs on US pork up to 72% due to the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing. Currently, Spain is the main supplier of pork in the Chinese market, followed by Germany.
Representatives of the American pork industry are expecting an agreement on trade between the US and China but that depends mostly on the political agenda. "I believe that China has no choice but to come to an agreement with President Trump, the big question is when. Like it or not, politics play a big part in the timing of these agreements. If Trump comes to an agreement to soon before the 2020 election no one will remember it. Both sides want the biggest bang for their buck at the polling places and agriculture is stuck in the middle. I do know this, cold storage is full and the domestic market cannot handle all this extra pork we are producing. President Trump and Japan have reached a deal and that should also get more pork exported from the country. Unfortunately, I believe volatility will continue in all these agriculture markets," commented Allan Bentley, USA Sales, Genesus. Meantime, pork prices in China have reached their highest level in history, CNY31.77/kg ($4.43) last week.
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