Swine fever found in Germany putting pork exports at risk
By Thomas Escritt and Michael Hogan, Reuters
Sep 10, 2020
BERLIN/HAMBURG (Reuters) - Germany confirmed on Thursday that African swine fever (ASF) had been found in a dead wild boar near its border with Poland, threatening pork exports to China from Europe’s biggest pork producer, which were worth $1.2 billion last year.
Authorities in the German state of Brandenburg quarantined a 15-km (9-mile) area around where the boar was found to search for any more dead animals and also restricted the movement of farm animals.
South Korea, Germany’s second largest pigmeat customer outside the European Union, announced a ban on German pork imports.
The disease is not dangerous to humans but it is fatal to pigs and a massive outbreak in China, the world’s biggest pork producer, has led to hundreds of millions of pigs being culled.
Major pork importers such as China often impose bans on imports from countries where ASF has been found, even if only in wild animals.
“The attention is now on whether importing countries, especially China, impose import restrictions on German pigmeat,” said Andre Schaefer at commodity brokerage Kaackterminhandel GmbH.
“China especially is a vital customer for Germany. If import bans are imposed we could see pork prices under pressure in Germany,” he said.
German pork exports to markets including China and Japan are likely to come to a stop along with South Korea, German meat industry association VDF said.
The association said Asian importers are especially important buyers of pigmeat products which are not popular in Europe such as feet, ears, tails and bones.
Export stops would prevent these products being sold as food and “would have a strong influence on product flows in the pork market.”
In the first four months of 2020, Germany exported 158,000 tonnes of pork worth 424 million euros ($500 million) to China, double the amount in the same period last year, the country’s statistics office said.
DON’T PANIC ...
Europe is on high alert after a deadly swine virus emerges in Germany
By Megan Durisin, Brian Parkin, Isis Almeida, and Bloomberg
via Fortune - September 10, 2020
A deadly pig disease has just entered Germany for the first time, threatening to hammer exports from Europe’s biggest hog-producing nation.
A confirmed case of African swine fever has been identified in the eastern state of Brandenburg, Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said Thursday at a briefing in Berlin. The virus, which kills most infected pigs within 10 days but is not harmful to humans, was detected in the corpse of a wild boar found near the Polish border.
Tests were conducted at Germany’s animal health institute and sensitive areas will now be cordoned off to try to prevent the disease spreading, Kloeckner said.
A key supplier to China, the largest consumer, Germany stepped up efforts to prevent the disease from entering the country since it emerged in western Poland late last year. That included training dogs to sniff out dead wild boar, stockpiling electric fences along the eastern border and urging drivers not to toss ham-sandwich scraps out the window. Eastern Europe has dealt with ASF outbreaks for several years, and neighboring Belgium has also seen cases in wild animals since 2018.
The ASF case in Brandenburg deals a further blow to Germany as it struggles with the coronavirus pandemic. A nationwide lockdown plunged the economy into its worst recession since World War Two and activity isn’t expected to return to pre-crisis levels until the end of next year at the earliest.
Germany’s largest pork plant was shuttered for a month this summer after more than 1,000 workers tested positive for Covid-19, and additional abattoirs also faced temporary closures from outbreaks. That’s kept output below normal levels and meat producers throughout Europe and the Americas saw similar problems as slaughterhouses became hotspots for the virus.
As soon as a case of ASF is confirmed, even if it’s a wild pig, German pork exports to countries outside the EU are no longer allowed, while sales to the bloc are still possible under certain conditions, according to the DBV farm lobby.
A verified case could bring German exports outside the EU to a “fairly rapid halt,” Justin Sherrard, an animal-protein strategist at Rabobank, said before Kloeckner’s announcement. That may benefit sales from other European shippers, including Spain or Denmark, as well as U.S., Canada or Brazil.
That would come at a time when Chinese purchases have been surging as the nation attempts to rebuild its own herds after outbreaks there decimated production. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects global pork shipments to climb by almost a fifth compared with 2019. Chicago hog futures reached a four-month high on Wednesday.
“This is very friendly, bullish, to U.S. pork prices, if German pork exports are shut down,” said Dennis Smith, a senior account executive at Archer Financial Services. America has been exporting record amounts of pork to China recently.
Kloecker said Germany informed China overnight of the outbreak, but declined to comment further. China accounted for more than half of EU pork exports in the first six months of the year, government data show.
German sales in the EU would be protected by using “regionalization” rules to contain the outbreak and maintain trade within the bloc, Kloeckner said. Germany will ring-fence the state of Brandenburg where the case occurred, banning pork-product and livestock shipments, she said.
"Continue to creep across Germany" ...
Still, prices across the continent are likely to be pressured amid excess supply, said Rupert Claxton, meat director at consultant Gira…
S.Korea bans pork imports from Germany after African swine fever case
Sangmi Cha, Reuters
September 10, 2020
SEOUL, Sept 10 (Reuters) - South Korea banned imports of pork from Germany on Thursday after a case of African swine fever was confirmed in a wild boar in eastern Germany, the South Korean agriculture ministry said.
In 2019, South Korea had an outbreak of African swine fever, recording at least 14 cases of the deadly hog disease, which prompted the culling of more than 145,000 pigs to contain the virus.
Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Editing by Susan Fenton