December 16, 2018 / 8:39 AM / in 4 months

China pork prices may rise in 2019 due to swine fever: official

FILE PHOTO - A customer pays a vendor at a stall selling pork at a market in Beijing, China, March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s pork prices are likely to climb in 2019 due to tight supply caused by the further spread of African swine fever, an official at the National Development and Reform Commission said in remarks published on Sunday.

“If the outbreak of African swine fever can’t be effectively controlled or even further spreads after the Chinese New Year, pork will be in short supply as farmers won’t be willing to replenish their herds,” Lu Yanchun, head of the prices monitoring center at the state planner, was quoted as saying by Chinese financial publication Caixin.

Pork prices might see a big jump in the summer or the second half of next year, Lu added.

China has reported more than 80 outbreaks of African swine fever across the country. The highly contagious disease is still spreading, reaching to the northwestern province of Qinghai last week.

Reuters reported earlier that China may soon buy pork for its state reserves to support farmers struggling to sell their pigs due to the outbreak.

China’s consumer prices may rise 2.1-2.2 percent in 2018 while producer prices could rise around 3.5 percent, Lu was quoted as saying.

Rising pork prices could push up consumer prices in 2019, while trade frictions with the United States could create downward pressure on domestic prices, Lu added.

Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Kevin Yao; Editing by Mark Potter

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