China’s H1 pork output soars by a third to 27.2 mln T as hog farms rebuilt

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China’s pork output jumped 35.9% in the first half of 2021 versus a year earlier to 27.15 million tonnes, official data showed on Thursday, as producers spent large sums to rebuild their hog farms that were decimated by the African swine fever.

Pork output for the April-June period was 13.46 million tonnes, up 40% compared with the same period last year and the highest second-quarter level since at least 2016, according to Reuters’ calculations.

The six-month and quarterly output jump in the world’s largest pork producer comes on the back of expanding hog production, as farms pumped in huge investments to rebuild China’s hog herd that was severely depleted in 2018 and 2019 due to the deadly African swine fever disease.

Severe disease outbreaks in China’s north over winter had raised expectations of tight supplies and higher prices, prompting some farmers to seek extra profits by raising pigs to much heavier weights than normal.

Prices have instead plunged since January as significant volumes of large pigs slaughtered pressured prices.

Pork prices PORK-CN-TOT-D have dropped by more than half since the start of the year, hitting more than two-year lows in June, but have recovered some of their losses this month.

The National Bureau of Statistics said China slaughtered 337.42 million hogs in the first six months of the year, up 34.4% from the corresponding period a year earlier.

Its pig herd expanded 29.2% year-on-year to 439.11 million heads at end-June.

Updates with more data, background

SHANGHAI, July 15 (Reuters) – China’s pork output jumped 35.9% in the first half of 2021 versus a year earlier to 27.15 million tonnes, official data showed on Thursday, as producers spent large sums to rebuild their hog farms that were decimated by the African swine fever.

Pork output for the April-June period was 13.46 million tonnes, up 40% compared with the same period last year and the highest second-quarter level since at least 2016, according to Reuters’ calculations.

The six-month and quarterly output jump in the world’s largest pork producer comes on the back of expanding hog production, as farms pumped in huge investments to rebuild China’s hog herd that was severely depleted in 2018 and 2019 due to the deadly African swine fever disease.

Severe disease outbreaks in China’s north over winter had raised expectations of tight supplies and higher prices, prompting some farmers to seek extra profits by raising pigs to much heavier weights than normal.

Prices have instead plunged since January as significant volumes of large pigs slaughtered pressured prices.

Pork prices PORK-CN-TOT-D have dropped by more than half since the start of the year, hitting more than two-year lows in June, but have recovered some of their losses this month.

The National Bureau of Statistics said China slaughtered 337.42 million hogs in the first six months of the year, up 34.4% from the corresponding period a year earlier.

Its pig herd expanded 29.2% year-on-year to 439.11 million heads at end-June.

A current surge in cases of African swine fever in the southwestern Sichuan province is also expected to boost the number of pigs being sent to slaughter.