(Bloomberg) – Beef imports from China, the world's largest meat consumer, jumped to a peak in June when the spread of African swine fever across the country is increasing the demand for alternative sources of animal protein.
Beef imports climb because the lethal virus increases pork prices and asks people to change safety diets about diets, even if there is no evidence of harm to humans. Australia is the big winner. Chinese demand helped lift beef exports to 1.16 million tonnes a year until June 30, according to Meat & Livestock Australia. Freight to China jumped 55% to 206,306 tons. China's purchase of South American beef is also increasing. Brazil's exports to the country are increased to 70,000 tonnes a month if China allows supplies from 25 meat plants currently under consideration, said Caio Toledo, a risk management consultant at INTL FCStone. Brazil exported an average of 24,000 tonnes a month to China in the first half.
China's swine herds, the world's largest, shrunk most at least a year last month, with farmers reluctant to replenish numbers while swine fever rages, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. High stock fell 26% from the previous year, while the number of breeding sows fell by 27%.
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