March 15, 2019 11:00 AM, EDT

China Buys Most US Pork in Two Years as Futures Extend Rally

PorkDaniel Acker/Bloomberg News

China, the world’s largest consumer of pork, made its biggest purchase of the meat from the U.S. in nearly two years as African swine fever reduces hog herds and drives up prices.

The Asian country bought 23,800 metric tons in the week ending March 7, the largest sale since late April 2017 and the third-biggest in data going back to 2013, the Department of Agriculture reported March 14. Lean hog futures for June delivery surged as much as 3.4% to 83.6 cents a pound on March 15, the highest for the contract since Dec. 14.

“The turn higher in China’s pork prices is a bullish force, and it may help pull pork prices from around the world higher, as China is likely to become an active importer,” according analysts in the Hightower Report.


China is also buying pork domestically to boost state reserves. The country will purchase 50,000 tons starting March 15 after a first round of buying last week that helped drive up local prices, according to industry website, that cited an official document. The nation bought 10,000 tons on March 8.