Monday, April 22, 2019

Fatal swine fever ravages China’s pig farms and shakes global food markets

A deep dive into what is fast becoming a serious problem.
From the Financial Times, April 22:
As millions of pigs disappear in China, the rest of the world is beginning to notice. The country’s pig population, the largest in the world, is likely to shrink by almost a third, losing 130m animals as African swine fever ravages the country’s farms. The outbreak will reshape protein markets across the globe, driving up meat prices as China, the leading consumer and producer of pork, braces for years of shortages and disruptions to its food supply. “This has been a game-changer,” says Jais Valeur, group chief executive at Danish Crown, Europe’s leading pork processor. “We’re only starting to see the real impact of African swine fever.”

The ASF virus, endemic to Africa, is fatal to pigs and has no cure. The current wave of cases began in Georgia in 2007 and spread to parts of eastern Europe and Russia before reaching China in August. After eight months of Beijing claiming the situation was under control, the crisis has now become undeniable. The Ministry of Agriculture said last week that a preliminary estimate forecasts pork prices to rise more than 70 per cent year on year in the second half of 2019.

The sharp drop in China’s pig population has sent shockwaves through the world food industry. Hog futures have leapt in Chicago. Shares of meat companies have soared in São Paulo and New York. US pork sales to China recently hit a record high despite a 62 per cent tariff imposed during the course of the trade war between the countries....MUCH MORE
U.S. futures via FinViz: