UPDATE 1-China's pig herd up 23.5% in May vs year ago - state media

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BEIJING, June 16 (Reuters) - China’s pig herd rose 23.5% in May from a year earlier, state media said on Wednesday citing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

The sow herd increased 19.3% during the same period, according to the CCTV report, reaching 98.4% of the stocks at the end of 2017.

China’s huge hog herd, which produces about half of the pork consumed globally, plunged 40% in 2019, official data shows, after the deadly African swine fever virus swept through its farms. The industry has poured billions of yuan into new, intensive farms over the last year to rebuild the herd.

“We can now say with complete confidence that the original three-year mission for the restoration of pig production has been completed ahead of schedule,” Xin Guochang, an official with the agricultural ministry’s Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau told CCTV. (Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Himani Sarkar)