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African Swine Fever Confirmed on German Pig Farm, While China’s Record Pork Imports Cool

Reuters News reported late last week that, “The first cases of African swine fever have been confirmed in farm pigs in Germany, the country’s federal agriculture ministry said on Friday.

“The disease was confirmed in pigs on two farms in the eastern German state of Brandenburg.

“Previous cases have only been found in wild animals, with 1,267 African swine fever cases so far in wild boar in the Brandenburg area. Brandenburg is on the border with Poland, where the disease is widespread.”

The Reuters article pointed out that, “China and other pork buyers banned imports of German pork in September 2020 after the first case was confirmed in wild animals. Import bans by China and major Asian importers remain in place.”

“The import bans on German pork imposed last year have led to trade displacement, with EU producers including Spain raising exports to Asia while Germany increased sales inside the EU,” the Reuters article said.

Bloomberg News writers Megan Durisin and Stefan Nicola reported on Friday that, “German pig-carcass prices have picked up from record lows set in 2020 as it was able to sell some of its excess supply within the European Union. A backlog of livestock due to coronavirus outbreaks at abattoirs has also abated.

“Pig Virus Found in German Farms in Setback for Exports,” by Megan Durisin and Stefan Nicola. Bloomberg News (July 16, 2021).

“Still, pig prices have held below cost-covering levels for farmers, according to [producers group] ISN. The country’s pork sales outside the bloc are running at less than half last year’s pace, government data show.”

Also late last week, Reuters News reported that, “The discovery on Friday of the first cases of African swine fever (ASF) in farm pigs in Germany could make negotiations about lifting existing import bans with China and other major buyers more difficult, but no major impact on the German pork market is immediately expected, experts said.”

“This is not expected to have a major market impact as German pork exports are already subject to bans from many importers outside the EU, the experts said.”

On Monday, Reuters News reported that, “A third case of African swine fever (ASF) was confirmed over the weekend in farm pigs in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, German authorities said.

“The case was on a small farm with four pigs inside the restriction zone where the disease is common among wild boar, the Brandenburg state health ministry said.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reported last week that,

China’s record demand for foreign pork is about to crater after domestic prices plummeted, potentially easing pressure on the world meat market and cooling at least one constituent of global food costs.

“The planet’s biggest importer of the protein staple could slash overseas purchases by more than 50% in the July-December period from the first half of the year because local supplies are now cheaper than overseas shipments, said Jim Huang, head of China-America Commodity Data Analytics, an independent consulting firm focused on agriculture.”

“China’s 50% Slump in Pork Imports May Cool Global Food Costs,” Bloomberg News (July 15, 2021).

The Bloomberg article noted that, “As an illustration of the increase in local supply, pork production in China jumped 36% in the first half of the year from a year earlier to about 27 million tons, while hog numbers were up almost 30% to 439 million at the end of June from 12 months earlier, according to statistics bureau data Thursday.”

More broadly regarding U.S., China trade issues, Financial Times writer Demetri Sevastopulo reported last week that, “Beijing has snubbed the US by refusing to grant Wendy Sherman, deputy secretary of state, a meeting with her counterpart during a proposed visit to China that would have been the first top-level engagement since acrimonious talks in Alaska.

“The US halted plans for Sherman to travel to Tianjin after China refused to agree to a meeting with Le Yucheng, her counterpart, according to four people familiar with the decision. China offered a meeting with Xie Feng, the number five foreign ministry official who is responsible for US affairs.”

The FT article indicated that, The Biden administration had been negotiating what would have been the first high-level engagement since their first meeting in Alaska, which erupted into a public spat between Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, and Yang Jiechi, the top Chinese foreign policy official.”

“‘China’s move is a dangerous one. It increases distrust, tension and the risk of miscalculation during an already fraught period,’ [Evan Medeiros, a China expert at Georgetown University] said.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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