After months of unknowns of how or when African Swine Fever could bring more demand of U.S. pork, the U.S. is reporting sales of approximately 24,000 metric tons of pork to China. The purchase is considered one of the highest purchases of U.S. pork in the last two years. Kerns and Associates Economist Steve Meyer said an increase in pork demand was expected, but China demand is also a wildcard. “At some point they were going to start running out. We think we’ve seen that happen,” said Meyer. “We had a huge spread in prices between provinces in China as recently as January. Those prices have come back together in the last four or five weeks, which tells us they’re probably moving pigs wherever they need to be and there’s not that many of them around. We think they’re in the market.” Trade tariffs on U.S. pork can still impact movement, but Meyer said there are strategies China can use, like bonded warehouses, to overcome the challenge.
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