China pork producers are playing a never-ending game of Whack-a-Mole with African Swine Fever [ASF].
Three years into the war against the global swine virus, the Asian nation faces new cases in its own backyard and in neighboring countries.
Where things stand… Since the start of 2021, six new outbreaks have been reported in the key pork-producing regions of Sichuan and Hubei. The relatively small clusters of positive cases are being chalked up to a seasonality bump and new strains.
The silver lining: The seasonal bump shouldn’t have a meaningful impact on supply, and the new strains are less harmful, though still highly transmissible.
But China is definitely feeling the sting.
Domestic hog prices have plummeted 19% since the beginning of the year. And while the USDA expects 14% growth of the Chinese herd this year, these ASF speed bumps could knock those efforts off track.
And about those neighbors…
- Malaysia’s 3,000 cases this year put them on China’s blacklist as no imports of pigs or boars are being accepted.
- Vietnam is also getting the stink eye after 2,000 ASF-positive pigs were found.
- Russia’s rough Q4 2020 of ASF madness is finally under control after +500K pigs were culled.
What’s ahead: With no commercial vaccine in sight and shakey market prices, it’s going to make for another interesting year for the China pork industry.