CHINA- Chinese pig meat prices rose to a record high in August, forcing government officials to use the nation’s first meat reserves of the year to assure supplies for the holidays.

The state planner stated that it intended to release some reserve pork to maintain the stability of the prices prior to National Day which is celebrated on October 1.

Pork, which is a popular meat in the country, is usually in higher demand during the holidays.

August saw a 22.5% price increase for Chinese pig meat, making it the third month in a row that the cost of Asia’s staple meat has increased.

After price increases of 25.6% in July and 14.8% in June, China’s government had to use national meat stockpiles to guarantee a supply for the holidays.

Food inflation doubled from 2.9% in June to 6.1% in August, albeit the consumer price index (CPI) remains at moderate levels (2.5%).

High demand, high feed costs, and the lingering effects of the breeding herd reduction last year are all blamed for price increases.

According to the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, when the price of pork is low and the farmers suffer significant losses, the government will raise the price of pigs by gathering and storing pigs.

However, if prices increase, the government will release reserves in an effort to keep pig prices stable.

Chinese pig consumption currently stands at 23.7 kg according to the most recent OECD data from 2021, and it won’t reach pre-2019 levels until 2025.

The Chinese government increased its efforts to regulate market prices in June by issuing new regulations for the sector.

At that time, the authorities had already issued a warning that “cyclical oscillations” toward higher prices were possible.

In a market dominated by family farms, the government hasn’t done much to stop farmers from hoarding cattle up to this point.

Some farmers are waiting for even higher prices before releasing their stock. Prices may tumble sharply if that occurs in a cascade.

The National Development and Reform Commission stated in July that the production capacity of live pigs is generally reasonable and sufficient throughout the nation, thus this may be the case.

Chinese pork consumption, while considerably high, has suffered some hurdles in recent years.

According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), per capita consumption reached 30.3 kg in 2019 after peaking at 32.7 kg in 2014.

The severe swine fever of 2019 ravaged livestock worldwide, killing almost four million pigs in Asia alone, and thus altered consumer diets.

Consumption decreased by a quarter to 24.4 kg in a single year in 2019 and hasn’t increased since.

Chinese pig consumption currently stands at 23.7 kg according to the most recent OECD data from 2021, and it won’t reach pre-2019 levels until 2025.

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