China, the largest global pork consumer, continues to suffer from a large production deficit due to a reduced herd, as a result of African swine fever (ASF). The restoration of the herd takes place slowly since the ASF is still an apparent risk, leading producers, especially the small ones, to expand their herds cautiously, in fear of further losses. The country has not reported new cases of the disease in 30 days, but nearby countries do. The perspective is that the country will keep acting with intensity in purchases for a relatively long period, given its production cycle of about two years. However, the country’s import curve must be monitored carefully every month, and it may show signs of decline from mid-2021, while the country’s herd is rebuilt.
According to China’s customs data released last week, the country imported 1.35 million tons in the first four months of 2020, up 170.4% from the same period last year. In April alone, the Asian country imported around 400 thousand tons, according to the report. China expanded purchases from all major global exporters (Brazil, United States and European Union), as will be seen below, taking advantage of the strong retraction in pork prices in these markets due to supply and demand shocks caused by the COVID-19 crisis.