In this file:
· China tapping national pork reserves will not satisfy shortage of the culturally symbolic meat, analysts warn
... China’s entire frozen pork reserves amount to roughly 990,000 tonnes, according to Lei Yi, an analyst at China Merchant Securities. “The impact is really limited, compared to the supply gap of over 10 million tonnes,” he said... If China was to import all the tradeable pork in the world and use up all its frozen reserves, there would still be a supply deficit of around 6 million tonnes...
· City Puts Price Controls on Pork in Wake of Swine Fever Outbreak
· Chinese City Goes Back to Rationing to Curb Rampant Pork Prices
· China says to step up subsidizing hog equipment to boost output
China tapping national pork reserves will not satisfy shortage of the culturally symbolic meat, analysts warn
· Use of national reserves shows how deeply crisis has shaken China, where pork is crucial part of the diet and symbol of well-being
· The nation is in the grip of an African swine fever epidemic that could wipe out half its pig population by the end of the year, analysts warn
Orange Wang, South China Morning Post (China)
6 Sep, 2019
China has begun to tap its national pork reserves, a sign of Beijing’s urgency to curb widespread discontent over the sharp spike in pork prices, but analysts warn that stocks are nowhere near big enough to keep the popular meat on dinner tables across the country.
China is in the grip of an African swine fever epidemic that could wipe out half its pig population by the end of the year, with officials also scrambling to ratchet up pork imports to help fill the gap.
The government’s tapping of the national reserve is evidence of how deeply the crisis has shaken China, where pork is not only a crucial part of the diet, but also a symbol of a family’s well-being.
“Securing the supply [of pork] affects people’s livelihoods and overall situation,” vice-premier Hu Chunhua said last week, adding that Beijing would use all means at its disposal to keep the supply flowing.
The meat reserve scheme was created in 1996 to help stabilise food prices during emergencies. Both the national and provincial governments keep pork reserves, which are tapped when the supply is threatened.
The central government announced at the end of August that it would start to release frozen pork reserves into the market, but local governments started acting earlier. The Hainan provincial government has been injecting frozen pork into the market since August 28 and plans to release 1,520kg before September 12. Cities in the Guangxi autonomous region and Fujian province are also believed to have started to eat into their pork reserves.
However, even combined with imports, this will not fill the gap left by African swine fever, in a country where every person consumes the equivalent of half a pig each year, according to Zhang Lichen, at the state-owned Heilongjiang Agricultural Investment Corporation.
China’s entire frozen pork reserves amount to roughly 990,000 tonnes, according to Lei Yi, an analyst at China Merchant Securities. “The impact is really limited, compared to the supply gap of over 10 million tonnes,” he said.
And the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better. China’s pig population is forecast to drop by around 50 per cent this year, according to a quarterly report of Rabobank released in July.
That would mean a pork shortfall of about 13 million tonnes, given the annual pork production of 54.03 million tonnes last year, according to the data of the National Bureau of Statistics, meaning prices will remain high.
“It takes at least seven to eight months for newborn pigs to mature and go to the market,” a pork supplier named Wang selling at Xinfadi, the largest pork wholesale market in Beijing. “We will not see the turning point until the next year.”
Trade war tariffs of up to 72 per cent on US frozen pork imports have effectively cut American farmers out of the Chinese market, meaning buyers in China have had to look to pig farmers in new markets like Argentina and Portugal to try and fill the gap.
However, even with American supply, there would not be enough pork in the world to satisfy China’s demand. The US Department of Agriculture estimated that total worldwide pork exports in the first 10 months of this year will be 8.8 million tonnes.
If China was to import all the tradeable pork in the world and use up all its frozen reserves, there would still be a supply deficit of around 6 million tonnes.
Release of the government reserves could keep prices down in the short term, said Feng Yonghui, chief analyst at pork industry portal Soozhu.com. “The government would play the role as a large supplier, using greater supply to influence the price on the entire market,” he said.
But whether this can help keep a lid on social discontent remains to be seen. It is difficult to overstate the importance of pigs and pork in China...
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City Puts Price Controls on Pork in Wake of Swine Fever Outbreak
By Isabelle Li and Li Liuxi, Caixin (China)
Sep 03, 2019
A rare government-led price intervention has taken place in the capital city of South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to offset rising local pork prices stemming from a national outbreak of African swine fever.
The city of Nanning has issued an administrative order to vendors to set a cap on pork prices starting from Sunday, as well as subsidies to help them do so, according to the government-run Nanning Daily. Every morning before 9 a.m., vendors in 10 major farm produce markets scattered across the city’s eight districts will sell pork at an at least 10% discount to the average price of the previous 10 days. Each consumer is limited to buying up to 1 kilogram of the discounted pork. The amount of discounted pork will be limited to one pig’s worth per vendor per day.
Pork prices in those markets will be subject to a different cap ranging from 19 yuan ($2.74) to 32.2 yuan per 500 grams (1.1 pounds), depending on the market’s location and the type of pork, according to a document released on the municipal government’s website.
The government will adjust the price cap every 10 days, and there is no clear timeline for when the intervention will end, the Nanning Daily reported. The measures are likely to last until pork prices stabilize, officials told the local newspaper.
The measures have left local residents waiting in line for a shot at the discounted meat. Because the supply of discounted pork is limited, some markets note down purchaser’s name and phone number and others distribute tickets to ensure each buys no more than the individual limit.
The outbreak of African swine fever, which is fatal to pigs but does not affect humans, was first reported in China in August 2018 in the northeastern province of Liaoning and then spread to all 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland by this April.
Amid the fallout from the outbreak, pork prices have soared in the country over the past few months as the supply of live hogs has shrunk...
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Chinese City Goes Back to Rationing to Curb Rampant Pork Prices
Nanning caps prices and purchases in city’s wet markets
Pork prices have soared because of African swine fever
By Alfred Cang, Bloomberg
September 1, 2019
One Chinese city has gone back to rationing and price controls to calm its pork market, as the nation’s hog herd is ravaged by a killer disease and wholesale prices spike to record levels.
Vendors in 10 selected wet markets in Nanning, capital of the southern region of Guangxi, are selling pork cuts capped at a maximum price over the first 10 days of September, according to a statement posted on the website of the local government’s planning body. The most expensive, ribs, won’t retail for more than 32.2 yuan ($4.50) per half a kilo.
For many, rationing evokes the hardships of wartime, but China’s so-called planned supply method of distributing groceries harks back to its communist heyday of the 1950s. It was gradually abolished in the 1980s as supplies became more ample following economic reforms.
Each customer is allowed only 1 kilo of pork, the Nanning Evening News, a local government newspaper, reported on Sunday. The steps are necessary to control surging prices given the time it’ll take for pork production to recover, the newspaper said.
The move shows the ill-effects of African swine fever, first reported about a year ago, now taking a firm hold in retail markets, and the government is expected to offer more incentives for farmers to restock even as imports surge. Given the Chinese love of pork, it’s also a potential challenge to maintaining a happy citizenry in the run-up to the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic in October...
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China says to step up subsidizing hog equipment to boost output
Reporting by Chen Aizhu;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle, Reuters
September 6, 2019
SINGAPORE, Sept 6 (Reuters) -
* China said on Friday it will step up subsidies for hog equipment, among a raft of measures the government has rolled out in recent weeks in a bid to boost pig production after African swine fever ravaged its pig herd
* The new measures are aimed at supporting pig farmers in purchasing equipment such as automated pig-feeding, tools for epidemic prevention and waste treatment, according to a statement posted on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
* Provincial governments shall prioritize taking pig farmers’ applications for state grants and also expedite rolling out new hog equipment, the ministry said
* Beijing earlier this week...