China’s Q3 pork output growth slows as farmers reduce breeding herds

China’s third-quarter pork output reached 12.11 million tonnes, up by less than 1% year-on-year, official data showed on Monday, highlighting the impact on production after farmers recorded huge losses earlier in the year.

The growth rate of China’s pork production has slowed recently since increasing every quarter year-on-year for the last two years, as some farmers reduced their breeding herds late in 2021 and earlier this year after months of low hog prices and high feed costs eroded profits.

Still, third quarter pork output was slightly higher than the 12.02 million tonnes produced during the same period a year ago, Reuters calculations of data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Pork production in the third quarter of the year is typically over 12 million tonnes.

China’s pork output reached 41.5 million tonnes in the first nine months of the year, up 5.9% from the corresponding period a year ago, the statistics bureau data showed.

Since the middle of June, hog prices have rallied more than 60%, pushing up consumer inflation, and prompting repeated market intervention by authorities in Beijing.

Some analysts say the rapid rise in price is due to tighter supply of hogs.

But China’s powerful state planner has said the rally is a result of farmers holding back pigs from slaughter as they wait for higher prices, while others seek to profit by raising pigs to heavier weights.

The total pig herd grew to 443.94 million heads at the end of September, up from 430.57 million at the end of June, the data also showed.