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Obese pigs blamed for slide in China's pork prices

Farmers fattening their pigs — a lot — before bringing them to market is among the factors weighing heavily on pork prices in China, Bloomberg News reported.

Wholesale pork prices have plummeted more than 40% since mid-January in China amid tepid demand, increased imports and panic selling by hog farmers after new outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF), according to the news service.

Muyuan Foods Co. — China’s largest pig breeder — said this week it was expecting an ongoing fall in domestic hog prices, and doesn’t expect it to level off until 2022 or the following year.

The influx of obese pigs is not helping matters. Many farmers last year began raising hogs to nearly double their normal size in anticipation of prices bouncing back. Farms in southwest and south China continue to hold a large count of “cow-sized” pigs, which when sold will pressure prices lower for awhile, Lin Guofa, a senior analyst at Bric Agriculture Group, told Bloomberg.

Prices vary by region, however, with new regulations banning the transport of live pigs across the boundaries of five areas serving to reshape the market.

One farmer in the northern city of Tianjin said her family had sold all their pigs above 150 kilograms and would stop breeding larger hogs due to the price side. “The falling pork prices and high corn prices give poor returns on those larger hogs as they eat more,” Qian Xiaoyun told Bloomberg.

Par Kate Gibson (01/06/2021)

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