ASF in Germany- what happens now?

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Earlier today, Germany announced its first confirmed case of African Swine Fever, found in a wild boar near the Polish border.

It remains to be seen whether China will follow its usual approach,and place a total ban on all German pork imports. Germany has previously been hopeful that it might be able to achieve a regional agreement with China, whereby unaffected areas could still trade.

We have previously talked about how the loss of German pork exports to China, and a number of other key markets, could effectively “trap” a large volume of pork on the EU (+UK) market. Prices would then be expected to come under pressure. However in the past 18 months, the EU has been sending so much pork to China, that even if Germany did lose much of its export market, the volume that would become available for consumption within the EU would not be large by historic standards.This is because this is pork that has been exported instead of being consumed in Europe. It is not “extra” pork that the EU market would have to absorb, but rather volume that the EU market had been consuming until recently.

EU pig meat production has been lower so far this year, influenced by COVID-19 related disruption, but is expected to be broadly stable in 2020 overall. Ongoing strong demand from China has continued to draw pork from the EU market, and for January-May, exports were up by 16% (+260,000 tonnes carcase weight equivalent). If exports continued with this level of growth throughout 2020, and production increased by 0.5% (EU short-term outlook), supplies available on the EU market in 2020 would fall by 3% (-540,000 tonnes), compared to 2019.


By Bethan Wilkins

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