(Bloomberg) – China's beef imports, the world's largest meat consumer, reached an all-time high in June as the spread of African swine fever across the country spurred demand for alternative sources of animal protein.
Beef imports are rising as the deadly virus drives up pork prices and even causes people to change their diets for safety reasons, even though there is no evidence that it hurts people. Australia is the big winner. According to Meat & Livestock Australia, Chinese demand has helped increase beef exports to 1.16 million tonnes by 30 June. Deliveries to China increased 55% to 206,306 tonnes. China's purchases of South American beef are also increasing. According to Caio Toledo, a risk management advisor to INTL FCStone, Brazilian exports are increasing to 70,000 tonnes per month, with China allowing supplies from 25 meat factories under review. Brazil exported an average of 24,000 tonnes per month to China in the first half of the year.
China's herds of pigs, the largest in the world, shrank most in at least a year in the past month, with farmers reluctant to replenish their stocks. According to the Department of Agriculture, swine fever is raging. Pig stocks declined by 26% compared to the previous year, while the number of breeding sows decreased by 27%.
Contacting Bloomberg employees News on this release: James Poole in Singapore at jpoole4 @ bloomberg.net
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