April 18, 2024


China's quarterly pork output declines for first time in nearly four years



China experiences its first quarterly drop in pork output in almost four years as farmers reduce swine slaughter to stabilise swine prices amid sluggish meat sales during the peak Lunar New Year season, Reuters reported.


According to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), pork output in January-March decreased by 0.4% year-on-year to 15.83 million tonnes, marking the first quarterly decline since Q2 2020.


During the same period, the number of swine slaughtered decreased by 2.2%, totalling 194.6 million.


Chinese swine farming companies, responding to an African swine fever outbreak and market oversupply, had increased slaughter rates until February, causing swine prices to plummet.


China, a major pork consumer, has urged these companies to reduce swine numbers and lowered the national target for breeding sow retention this year.


Despite these measures, swine supply is expected to surpass demand due to high numbers of productive sows and companies' reluctance to destock after significant investments.


As of Monday, pork prices in China stood at approximately CNY 15.2 yuan (US$2.10) per kg, up from CNY 13.5 (US$1.86) in late February but still below the average production cost of CNY 16 (US$2.21) per kg.


Data from the NBS revealed that China's swine herd size decreased by 5.2% year-on-year to 408.5 million heads by the end of March, while the sow herd declined by 6.9% to 40.42 million by the end of February, according to China's agriculture ministry.


-      Reuters