The use of illicit African swine fever vaccines in China last year caused infections that cut hog supplies and lifted prices, said Ma Xiangjie, president of Henan Shuanghui Investment and Development, WH Group's domestic unit. Ma detailed, “Since the second half of last year some pig producers in China, especially south of the Yangtze river, used some immature pig vaccines and caught African swine fever again.”
China’s largest processor WH Group in an earnings release said hog processing tumbled 46% in 2020 from the year prior due to tight supplies.
The company also said it imported 700,000 MT of meat in 2020, with 70% of it coming from the United States. That helped the company overcome domestic supply shortfalls and generate record revenues and profits. WH group indicated it is working to grow its meat imports in 2021 and to expand the range of products and volume China imports from the U.S.
The processor expects hog production to climb in 2021, but it also commented that prices will likely remain well above those of overseas markets. WH Group raised its forecast for Chinese pig prices this year, citing the impact of “toxic vaccines,” according to Ma. But he added that prices should still come in lower than in 2020.