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China’s pork production slides for seventh quarter due to ASF

China’s pork output fell for the seventh consecutive quarter in the April-June period as the country continues to reel from the effects of African swine fever.

16 July 2020, at 8:54am

The disease, which is fatal to pigs but cannot infect humans, has decimated China’s pig herd.

Reuters reports that China’s second-quarter pork output fell 4.7 percent compared with the same period a year ago to 9.6 million tonnes, according to Reuters calculations based on data released on Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics that showed a 19.1 percent drop for the first six months of 2020.

Though it represents some progress from the nearly one-third slide seen in fourth-quarter 2019 output, the first-half drop underlines the huge task China still faces in rebuilding its hog herd since African swine fever swept through the country's farms at the end of 2018. Some analysts believe the herd shrank by as much as 60 percent.

China slaughtered 251.03 million hogs in the first six months of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said - a 20 percent drop from the same period a year earlier.

Its pig herd fell 2.2 percent year-on-year to 339.96 million head at end-June, but was up from 321.2 million at end of March.

Pork output is set to fall by 20 percent this year, according to Rabobank analysts, after skidding to a 16-year low of 42.6 million tonnes in 2019.

However, output should recover in due course with the sow herd growing. The statistics bureau said the sow herd at the end of June was 36.29 million head, up 5.4 percent from prior year, and up 7.3 percent from 33.81 million head at the end of March.

In the first half, meat including pork, beef, mutton, and poultry output was 34.89 million tonnes, down 11 percent year-on-year.

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