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Agribiz: Low US pork prices may boost Chinese exports
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Pork imports by China, the United States’ biggest consumer, may rise to a record this year as domestic supply fails to keep pace with demand and low U.S. prices spur state buying to help ease high inflation.

Imports, most of which are from the U.S., may jump to more than 400,000 metric tons, said Feng Yonghui, general manager of Soozhu.com, the country’s biggest independent hog researcher.

Purchases of offal, which isn’t categorized as pork by China customs, may gain to 850,000 tons to 900,000 tons, the highest level ever, said Joel Haggard, Hong Kong-based spokesman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Increased purchases may support prices of Chicago lean hogs, which extended the longest slump in six months recently amid rising U.S. supplies. China’s wholesale fresh pork prices surged to a record last month after hog inventories declined after disease killed herds and rising production costs deterred investment. Inflation gained to a three-year high in July, fueled by a 57 percent jump in pork prices.

“U.S. pork is quite cheap compared with high prices here, so a few companies including China Tuhsu,” are importing, Feng said in an interview in Beijing. “Prices are likely to stay high until at least the Spring Festival” in January, which will sustain imports, he said.

High-volume purchases will likely continue into the first half next year, he said.

Adapted from Growing Georgia News Service.

Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears biweekly on Thursday’s Business page and at gainesvilletimes.com.

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