Pork production slashed amid hog virus outbreak

Bloomberg

The most deadly outbreak of a hog virus in 18 years is raising pork prices and may raise imports from the biggest buyer, supporting a record rally in Chicago.

The agriculture ministry has discovered 186,825 cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea in 251 farms in 19 prefectures since it confirmed the latest outbreak of the contagious disease in October.

The United States, Canada, South Korea and Taiwan have also reported outbreaks.

“The disease will start having an impact on pork supply from around June as it spread to Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures in December, and pigs become ready for slaughter after six months,” said Akio Tamai, a researcher at Agriculture & Livestock Industries Corp. in Tokyo.

Wholesale prices of pork carcasses jumped 17 percent to ¥484 per 1 kg on average in February from a year earlier, ministry data showed.

Prices in Tokyo Friday rose 2.2 percent on the previous day to ¥519 a kilogram on average.

Prices gains in Japan will likely boost costs for meat processors, including Nippon Meat Packers Inc., as the piglet-killing illness shows no signs of abating and will worsen a seasonal decrease in supply during summer, according to Agriculture & Livestock Industries Corp.