Global Meat Output to Fall as Fever Ravages China Pig Farms


††† Meat production to fall for the first time in two decades: UN

††† Pork decline offsets growth in chicken, beef, report shows


By Aine Quinn, Bloomberg

May 9, 2019


Meat production is likely to fall for the first time in two decades because of a deadly disease thatís wiping out Chinese hog herds.


Thatís according a report from the United Nations, which said African swine fever will have far-reaching effects in food and agriculture markets around the world. As a whole, farmers will produce 0.2% less meat this year.


More than 1 million hogs have been culled in China since the outbreak began and some analysts are predicting that the country, the worldís top hog producer, will lose 30% of its herd this year. For all the recent fanfare about younger consumers going vegan and Beyond Meat Inc.ís blockbuster IPO, itís not enough to move the needle when it comes to global meat consumption.


The decline in meat supply this year would be a small dip after years of steady growth as rising incomes and higher standards of living in the developing world mean more people are able to afford foods that were once a rare luxury. Meat production has increased about 45% since 2000, according to the UN.


For now, the pig disease in China is having the biggest impact on pork production, with the decline in pork offsetting growth in supplies of chicken and beef. The virus -- which isnít known to harm humans -- has spread nationwide and thereís no indication that itís under control yet.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture in April forecast a drop of 134 million head -- equivalent to the entire annual output of American pigs -- and the worst slump since the USDA began counting Chinaís pigs in the mid 1970s.


Chinaís increased demand for imports helped push a gauge of global meat prices up 3% to a one-year high in April, sending a measure of overall food prices up for a fourth month, the UNís Food & Agriculture Organization said in a separate report Thursday. June hog futures are up almost 9% this year in Chicago.


Hereís how the African swine fever outbreak is impacting agriculture, according to the FAO:


Soybeans and Feed ...


Milk ...


Chicken ...


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