Deadly Virus Has Slashed China’s Pig Herd by Half, Rabobank Says

China’s pig herd has halved to 200 million head over the past year because of a deadly swine disease that may depress pork supplies for years, a Rabobank analyst said.

The emergence of African swine fever in China in August 2018, and the subsequent deaths and culling of pigs, have wiped out 25% the country’s pork production, or about 13 million metric tons, which is “unprecedented,” said Pan Chenjun, Rabobank’s Hong Kong-based senior animal proteins analyst, in an emailed statement Friday.

“This has resulted in a serious shortage in animal protein, with the market shrinking by 8 million tons -- even with the considerable increase in imports this year,” she said.

Chinese consumers are switching from pork to other proteins, including beef, not only due to the 50-to-80% increase in the price of pork, but also on concerns surrounding its quality and safety, Pan said.

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