Feb 14, 2020

Pig Crisis

China is now the world's largest producer and consumer of pork at 57 metric tons a year, more than half of the pork eaten on the entire planet. Pork is perhaps the most important commodity in the country. A sudden decrease in supply, and increase in price could not only cause mass civil unrest, but also increase the inflation rate.
The Chinese government has built up strategic reserves of bacon since the 1970s, and although the exact number of emergency pigs is hidden in state secrecy, experts estimate the National Pork Reserve holds hundreds of thousands of metric tons, both in the form of frozen meat and live hogs.

Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean pork stock has been getting wiped out. There is no vaccine or treatment. US pork sales to China have doubled, while European pork prices have reached a six-year high.

Due to a 2019 outbreak of African swine fever, China is culling millions of pigs, and is at risk of wiping out a quarter of the world's pork population. To combat the shortage, the government opened its pens and its fridges, releasing several thousand pounds of frozen pork from its reserves in an attempt to help meet demand.

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