African Swine Fever Hits Germany, Disrupts Exports

Germany’s deadly outbreak of African swine fever topped 1,000 cases in late April.

The rising count risks keeping exports subdued from the European Union’s top pork producer, benefiting other sellers in the bloc and the Americas. Meat buyers like Vietnam and Singapore have eased initial prohibitions on German supply, but a ban placed by top importer China is limiting the upside.

The earliest Beijing would consider lifting the ban is mid-year, according to a Rabobank report.

The virus has been found in wild boar in Germany’s east, although no pigs on farms have contracted it since an initial report from the fall, according to data from Brandenburg and Saxony.

The outbreak appears unlikely to end soon, with infections still abundant in neighboring Poland.

“Every week we’ve got several new cases, it’s far from under control,” said Tim Koch, livestock analyst at AMI. “Some countries are opening their border for German pig meat, but it’s all comparably low numbers. China imported more meat in the last year than all the other countries together.”

Officials from China and Germany recently held talks on the issue, and further negotiations are expected, the German agriculture ministry said. German wholesale pork prices have picked up from record lows at the onset of the outbreak as the country has been able to sell some of its excess supply within the EU.

Still, farmers are grappling with rising feed prices and added government regulations. Countries often aren’t declared free of swine fever until at least a year from their last case.

Source: Bloomberg