The global pork and meat market reacted nervously on reports that a new African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak may impact Chinese pork production. China is the largest global pork producer, but continues to rely heavily on imports to cover domestic demand for pork. Pork continues to be one of the stable foods in China and one of the key animal protein sources. Following a large outbreak of ASF in 2018, global pork prices rallied as Chinese buyers switched to international markets to cover demand.
This week, multiple market sources indicated a potential new outbreak of ASF in China. Although China has increased farming hygiene standards since the last outbreak in 2018/2019, killing millions of pigs, the virus has continued to circulate around the Chinese market. Following the Lunar New Year Holiday in January, infections continue to increase according to multiple sources, primarily in the northern provinces which are crucial producing regions for pork.
One source stated, “a new larger outbreak could lead to increasing import demand during the second half of the year, as China’s domestic consumption is expected to improve through the year following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. However, it seems unlikely that we are going to see such a big outbreak as in 2018.”