How coronavirus, ASF and the Chinese New Year are affecting the pig market in China

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China’s coronavirus outbreak has had a limited impact on pork trade so far, but could create challenges in the market in future, according to AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins.

The outbreak has coincided with the Chinese New Year holiday period, which is already a quiet period for business. “So, so far, disruption to imports has probably been limited,” she said.

However, this week China suspended pork trading, seemingly to investigate whether the meat can carry the virus between regions. “Although trade is to be resumed next week, the US hog futures market reacted negatively to the news. It is possible that further logistical problems could emerge going forward,” Ms Wilkins said.

But there could be an upside, too, in terms of trade. “On the other hand, Brazilian exporters (including JBS) reportedly believe the coronavirus outbreak could increase demand for imported pork, due to concerns around domestic food safety. Clearly, with the situation still developing, any possible impact is difficult to anticipate at this time,” she added.

“Nonetheless, considering the extent of the supply gap expected, it currently still seems likely suppliers will find ample opportunities, and strong prices, on the Chinese market this year.”

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