China has nearly exhausted its reserves of frozen pork, according to new estimates that underscore the supply shortfall in the world’s top protein market two years after the arrival of African swine fever, reported the Financial Times.
The level of reserves is a state secret in China, the world’s number one producer, consumer and importer of pork. But Enodo Economics, a London-based consultancy focused on China, estimates that reserves fell by about 452,000 tons between September 2019 and August this year.
China has less than 100,000 tons of pork reserves remaining, says Diana Choyleva, Enodo’s chief economist. “At this rate, within two to three months they’ll be out,” she added.
Despite inching down from their highs, spot wholesale prices are still more than double their pre-swine fever levels at RMB 47.61 ($7) per kilogram. The cost of pork to consumers rose more than 50% in August from a year earlier, according to official data. The decline in reserves means that Beijing’s “ability to directly intervene in the pork market will be more limited in the second half of 2020 and into 2021”, warned a USDA report.