China releases 17,000 tons of central pork reserves as output drop for seventh consecutive quarter

China’s pork production has fallen for the seventh consecutive quarter in the period from April-June, according to a report from Reuters.  The country, which is the world’s top pig producer, continues to suffer from the effects of the deadly African swine fever (ASF) that has decimated its pig herd.

China’s Q2 pork output fell 4.7% compared with the same period a year ago to 9.6 million tonnes, according to Reuters calculations based on data released on Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics that showed a 19.1% drop for the first six months of the year.

As a result, the country has  released 17,000 tonnes of frozen pork from its central reserves on Wednesday to increase market supply and stabilise prices, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has said.

The release was jointly organized by the MOC and other authorities, including the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance.

ASF swept through the country’s farms at the end of 2018 and some analysts believe the herd shrank by as much as 60%. Its pig herd fell 2.2% year-on-year to 339.96 million head at end-June, but was up from 321.2 million at end of March.

Pork output is set to fall by 20% this year, according to Rabobank analysts, after falling to a 16-year low of 42.6 million tonnes in 2019.

However, the statistics bureau has said the sow herd at the end of June was 36.29 million head, up 5.4% from prior year, and up 7.3% from 33.81 million head at the end of March, sparking hopes that output should recover in due course with the sow herd growing.

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