China Bans Live Hog Transport from 10 New Regions

September 12, 2018 Updated: September 12, 2018

BEIJINGChina has banned the transport of live hogs and pig products from 10 regions bordering the six provinces that have reported African swine fever outbreaks in recent weeks, a move set to further tighten supplies and oil prices in the world’s top pork consuming country.

Live markets will also be shut in the regions, according to a notice by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs dated Sept. 11, and sent to animal disease control centers in the areas.

Two government agencies that received the notice confirmed its authenticity to Reuters.

The affected areas include the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Jilin, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shandong, Hubei, and Shaanxi as well as Inner Mongolia and the city of Shanghai.

Beijing had already stopped transport of live hogs in the six provinces that have reported outbreaks. That includes Liaoning in the northeast, which is estimated to export about 20 percent of its pigs each year to the south.

The move has pressured prices in the north lower as hog supply accumulates due to the transport ban. Meanwhile,prices in some southern regions are soaring.

The 10 areas under the new ban slaughtered a combined 217 million hogs in 2018, around one-third of the country’s total, according to official statistics.

Hubei and Jiangxi provinces are major exporters of pigs, said a note from Changjiang Securities, and would likely see prices fall. Importing provinces such as Guangdong and Zhejiang will face a further uptickin prices, it said.

Prices for live hogs in Zhejiang were 18.51 yuan ($2.70) per kilogram last week, well above the national average of 14.38 yuan, according to data collected by consulting firm China-America Commodities Data Analytics.

Prices in Liaoning, meanwhile, fell to less than 12 yuan ($1.75) per kilogram, China-America reported.

Beijing’s measures are expected to take a major toll on small farmers who sell their animals to live markets, said an official at the Fujian Provincial Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Society who only gave his surname of Huang.

“Though prices [in Fujian] are up, the live markets are shut and there’s a ban on transportation so there will be no market for the farmers,” he said.

The tough new measures risk incentivizing the illegal movement of pigs as farmers and traders struggle to maintain their livelihoods, said an animal health expert at a large pig producer who was not authorized to talk to the media.

African swine fever is a highly contagious disease that cannot be cured and has no vaccine. It can also be transmitted in pork products, animal feed, or by people, but the virus is not harmful to humans.

By Dominique Patton & Hallie Gu