China: Pig prices remain low
China

Pig prices remain low

Imago / VCG
The sharp increase in the supply of slaughter pigs is difficult to market in China.
The sharp increase in the supply of slaughter pigs is difficult to market in China.

CHINA, Beijing. While prices in Europe are rising, producers in China are suffering from too much supply in the meat market.

In China, there are currently too many slaughter pigs on the market for the seasonally weak demand after the Spring Festival, so prices could fall even further. Chinese state television (CCTV) reported, citing the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing, that pig slaughterings were 23.6% higher in January and 8.2% higher in February than in the same month last year. Chen Guanghua, deputy director of the ministry's Livestock and Veterinary Bureau, recalled that the year-to-date pig population had increased by 10.5% to 449 million pigs, surpassing the pre-African swine fever(ASF) level. Accordingly, it must be assumed that there will be a good supply in the coming months.

Slaughter pig prices are therefore likely to remain at a low level or even fall slightly. According to Chen, this means losses for producers, which most recently are said to have amounted to around CNY 150 (€ 21.55) per slaughter pig. International analysts, however, expect higher losses. The average price for pork at wholesale in mid-March was CNY 18.42 per kilogram (€ 2.65), a good 52% lower than a year ago. It was hoped that the majority of pig farmers would keep an eye on the market, control costs and prevent disease incursions, he said. The elimination of breeding sows may accelerate, Chen said, but the state has taken stabilization measures. In addition to pork purchases and temporary subsidies, he said, these include protecting basic production capacity to avoid the risk of excessive culling of breeding sows.

China's hog market analyst Jim Huang also expects low hog prices in 2022. A large sow herd and weak consumption would ensure sufficient pork supply relative to demand. This is bad news for European and US pork exporters, he said, because China's demand for meat imports will be low this year, and there is no price differential to boost international trade.

Source: fleischwirtschaft.de; AgE

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