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Healthcare

EU pork export growth set to slow after German disease outbreak

PARIS, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Growth in pork exports from the European Union will slow significantly as Germany faces trade restrictions following a swine fever outbreak and Chinese demand contracts, the EU’s executive forecast on Monday.

Germany, the EU’s largest pork producer, has been barred from trade with major importing countries, including China and South Korea, after African swine fever (ASF) was detected in wild boar last month.

After increasing by 15% in the first half of the year, including a doubling of volumes to China, EU pork exports were expected to rise by only 2% over 2020, the Commission said in a short-term agricultural outlook report.

In its previous outlook in July, the Commission forecast a 10% increase in full-year pork shipments.

“The evolution of EU exports will depend on the capacity of Germany to contain the disease,” the Commission said in its latest outlook, adding that Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands “may fill gaps partially in supply to China and Asian markets”.

For next year, it projected a 10% decline in exports, in part due to an expected contraction in Chinese demand as the country rebuilds its own pig herd that was decimated by ASF.

“Export growth would not have continued even without an ASF outbreak in Germany,” it said.

For EU pork output, it forecast a 0.5% decrease this year, compared with its previous outlook of a 0.5% rise.

The ASF outbreak in Germany was expected to dampen a rebound in production in the third quarter when consumer demand recovered following earlier lockdown measures to contain the novel coronavirus.

“Any production growth in Q4 should come only from Spain, Denmark and Ireland, which expanded their herds, including breeding sows, in 2019,” the Commission said.

For next year, it forecast a 1% drop in EU pork output. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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