Chinese pork imports jumped 24 percent in April when compared to a year ago.
The country appears to be stocking up to prevent potential pork shortages as African Swine Fever continues to decimate hog herds.
Reuters examined Chinese customs data to reach the conclusion.
An estimated 20 percent of China’s hogs have been lost to the disease as outbreaks cover all of the mainland provinces, as well as Hong Kong.
China imported more than 136,000 tons of pork muscle cuts in April, the biggest number since September of 2016.
Imports in the first four months of this year climbed eight-percent higher than in 2018, coming in at more than 470,000 tons.
China’s ASF-caused hog problems are starting to have an effect on the global hog and pork markets.
Hormel Foods says it will reduce its full-year sales and earnings outlook. Hormel says ASF is causing a rapid increase in input costs in the second quarter.
Officials at the National Pork Producers Council and the North American Meat Institute are asking the administration for a quick resolution to the U.S.-China trade war in order to allow U.S. producers to preserve market share and take advantage of that increasing Chinese demand for pork.