China: Livestock and Products Semi-annual
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ASF has devastated China’s swine industry since August 2018. Despite low official reported cases of ASF and robust recovery efforts in the second half of 2019, overall swine production and slaughter will remain depressed in 2020. Further complicating matters is the coronavirus outbreak in China, but it is likely that there will be sufficient market incentive and political stimulus to push forward with recovery efforts. As a result, the 2020 ending hog inventory is expected to increase slightly from 2019 as the decline bottoms out. With low pork production in 2020 resulting in high pork prices, many Chinese consumers will seek out beef as an alternative protein. While elevated beef prices will spur some larger facilities to increase cattle production, most smaller facilities will be cautious in the face of uncertain pork prices and rising input costs. Overall, cattle ending inventories are expected to remain basically flat through 2020. The majority of increased beef demand will be satisfied by imports.