China pork production shows signs of recovery

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s third-quarter pork production rose 18% from a year earlier to 8.4 million tonnes, according to Reuters calculations based on official data, pointing to the first signs of recovery in the world’s top producer.

It was the first quarter since July-September of 2018 to show a year-on-year increase in pork output, after an epidemic of African swine fever swept through the country’s hog herd, causing production to plunge.

The incurable disease hit China’s pig farms in August 2018, and reduced the breeding stock by an estimated 60% by late last year.

Pork output fell to a 16-year low of 42.6 million tonnes in 2019, and was expected to contract by another 20% this year, according to Rabobank.

But production in the first nine months of 2020 has only dropped 10.8% from a year earlier to 28.38 million tonnes, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

“That’s higher than expected,” said Pan Chenjun, senior analyst at Rabobank, referring to the amount of pork produced.
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