Chinese buyers have greatly increased purchases of pork from the US in the past two weeks to replace domestic supply due to the increased precautions taken to prevent the spread of African swine fever, USDA statistics show, said the Wall Street Journal.
Chinese buyers have purchased 101,200 tons of pork in the past two weeks, with 77,700 tons purchased last week, a record since the USDA started reporting pork exports in 2013. The previous week-high was in July of 2014, when China purchased 31,200 tons.
“The news confirms that the disease is as bad, if not worse, than we expected,” said independent trader Dan Norcini. “Keep in mind that this pork supposedly is subject to tariffs and yet they are still buying and are now beginning to take delivery of it.”
Pork prices have been on the rise this year in reaction to the disease’s devastation. June’s lean hog contract on the CME is currently trading at over 95 cents per pound, which is 15% higher since the start of the year. In China, officials warn that prices could surge by more than 70% this year, reported the Wall Street Journal.