The 2018 spread of African swine fever to China had reverberations in the global pork market, according to new data from USDA’s Economic Research Service.
ASF caused an estimated loss of 27.9 million metric tons in China’s pork output from late 2018 to early 2021 and led to a doubling of China’s domestic pork prices. The high prices attracted a surge of pork exports from four major suppliers—the European Union, the United States, Brazil, and Canada. While the EU was the top supplier, U.S. pork exports were sizable and reached a record high of more than 287,000 metric tons in the second quarter of 2020.
Official data indicates that China’s pork production returned to its pre-ASF level in 2021. While exports to China are down from their peak, China is still one of the top three overseas markets for U.S. pork, with sales in the first six months of 2023 exceeding annual totals posted in years before ASF hit China.