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China asks farmers to cut pork supply

beijing / reuters / China’s pig farmers should cut supply to stabilize pork prices, the country’s top economic planning body said June 25.

The price of pork, a staple in the Chinese diet and a key factor in inflation trends snapped a four-month decline recently after tumbling more than a third from last year as Beijing stockpiled frozen meat to stem losses among farmers. Consumer prices have moderated in China this year, but Beijing remains wary of any flare-up in prices pressures.

“We suggest pig producers adjust their feeding habits and modestly reduce the number of productive sows to change the situation of pork supply exceeding demand as soon as possible,” the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement on its website, www.ndrc.gov.cn. The commission said the government would keep a close eye on pork prices to stem losses incurred by pig farmers.

But some analysts warned that China’s pork prices may jump in the coming months when a disease outbreak among piglets earlier this year works its way through the supply chain.

reuters / The placement of young cattle in U.S. feedlots last month grew by a larger-than-expected 15 per cent for the biggest May placement total in five years, as a lack of rain and dry pastures forced cattle off pastures and into feedyards, USDA and analysts said June 22.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s cattle-on-feed report showed May placements at 2.087 million head — the largest placement total for the month since 2007’s 2.159 million. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a 13 per cent rise in May placements because of the dry weather and poor pastures. Placements are normally large in May as ranchers move young cattle to feedlots from summer grazing programs.

This year’s total was increased by more Mexican cattle coming to southwestern U.S. feedlots as a persistent drought also hurt pastures there.

Jim Robb, director of the Livestock Marketing Information Center, viewed the overall report as “slightly bearish.” Placements were above-average forecasts but within the range of expectations. “There were quite a few cattle that were scheduled to go to summer grazing, but clearly went to feedlots based on the lightweight placement category being fully 100,000 head above a year ago,” said Robb.

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