Pork Prices Will Soar in China

Back in 2015, during the last slowdown in the economy and right around when the yuan devalued (strange coincidence) China was suffering from rising pork prices. Almost all of CPI "inflation" was in pork and fresh vegetables. At that time, the spike was blamed on rising piglet prices. Pork has higher and lower stages of productions and as the price of the inputs increased, rising costs filtered down to the lower stages, the retail market.

This post has links to all prior articles on the topic. The Porkpocalypse:Pork Prices Rise 7.7% in August, Up 19.6% YoY

The current situation in China will eventually make that episode look like a bump in the road. African Swine Flu is spreading all over China and pigs are either dying or being killed to prevent its spread.

SCMP: China declares victory over African swine fever but cover-up claims call success into question
A general manager from a large animal vaccine company in Beijing who asked to remain anonymous said about 60 or 70 per cent of major farms in Hebei had been affected.

“Many small farms and some medium and large-scale farms are still selling the pigs even though they have found swine fevers,” he said. “There are 99 core pig breeding farms in China. As of the end of February, fewer than 20 have not been hit by the fever.”
Pigs aren't like widgets. You can't call the factory and tell them to switch production lines to piglets (yet). The breeding stock is gone. Unless they can find outside sources of piglets, replacing the lost swine supply will require generations. I"m not an expert in pig farming, but a quick search indicates pregnancy lasts about 3 to 4 months, and a sow will be ready to reproduce after 5 to 6 months. Factor in considerations such as current pork demand and selective breeding.

SCMP: China pushes for swine fever subsidies to help pig industry get back on its feet
China, the world’s biggest pork consumer, has reported 114 outbreaks of African swine fever since August, although many in the industry believe it is worse than officially reported.

The disease kills around 90 per cent of pigs and there is no cure or vaccine. Around 1 million pigs have been culled so far to contain the disease although many more could have died in unreported outbreaks. The disease is not harmful to humans.

...China is urging rural governments to offer temporary subsidies to pig breeding farms and large-scale producers to help stabilise hog production, as the worst disease outbreak in years threatens to slash pork supplies.

The agriculture ministry outlined measures on Friday to ensure a quick return to stable pig production, including subsidies for breeding farms and support for small producers seeking to scale up.
Scaling up takes time.

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