Shrinking Chinese Hog Herd Pressuring U.S. Grain Markets

Soybeans Drop Double Digits 042419
African swine fever is threatening China's massive pork industry. ( MGN )

Soybeans suffering losses again this week as concern grows about China and the massive outbreak of African Swine Fever in that country. Traders are now concerned that Chinese soybean imports could be lower than expected this year.

China's Agriculture Ministry saying more than 80 percent of hog farmers aren't planning to restock their herds. An official at the China Vegetable Oil Industry Association projected China's soy imports could drop to 85 million tons. That's down from USDA's forecast of 88 million tons for the current marketing year.

According to Virginia McGathey, President of McGathey Commodities, there are other pressures on soybeans right now, too.

"There are some worries that the farmers may plant more beans than the USDA said in the March report," says McGathey. 

A Chinese ag researcher says If China's hog supplies drop by 10 percent, the country would need to import at least 2 million tons of pork to fill the gap.