African swine fever is actively influencing pork markets around the world, creating many areas of uncertainty – mainly in China, but also in Germany – which will not be resolved quickly. The implications of ASF for world pork trade are a major swing factor in global pork markets.
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ASF influence on pork markets: China is the most obvious country where ASF continues to have a major influence. Its spread over winter highlights the challenges of managing this disease, and it has complicated the picture of China’s pork supply and demand. The ongoing pressure from ASF’s spread in Germany is also significant and has implications for other parts of Europe as well. While progress has been made in containing the disease, more work is needed.
Uncertainty: ASF is creating several major areas of uncertainty, including China’s herd numbers and the outlook for 2021, especially for the sow population, as well as China’s pork production and pork prices. Moreover, the way high feed costs will affect production costs during 2021 is difficult to assess. Further obscuring the outlook are how quickly ASF will be controlled in Germany and when trade bans will be (partially) lifted.
Implications for world pork trade: China’s booming import demand for pork and other species was a major demand driver in global animal protein markets in 2020, but China’s pork imports are expected to decline in 2021. At the same time, we see all exporting countries looking to maintain trade with China. Price will be one major factor that determines which countries will maintain high pork trade flows to China in 2021, along with availability and geopolitical considerations.