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China ASF resurgence complicates global pork market

17th Mar 2021 / By Alistair Driver

The spread of African swine fever (ASF) over the winter in China is further complicating the global pork market, according to Rabobank.

In its latest global ASF update, Rabobank analysts highlight how the pig disease continues to actively influence pork markets around the world, mainly in China, but also in Germany.

China’s pig herd had been recovering rapidly since 2019, growing significantly in 2020, but this progress has been halted of late due to a combination of illegal vaccines, the emergence of new variants of the ASF virus, and pressure from other diseases, particularly porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).

It is estimated that the sow herd dropped from December 2020 to February 2021, down 3% to 5% month-on-month in each month.

However, Rabobank analysts believe the current sow herd is still 10% to 15% higher than a year ago and expects pork production to grow by 8% to 10% year-on-year in 2021, although this estimate has been adjusted downwards. 

Rabobank expects China to import around 3.9m to 5m metric tons in 2021, with volumes 10% to 30% down from the record high of 2020.

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