Cartoons

Snout in the trough

Here’s a dysfunctional situation: the price of pig feed in China is now more expensive than human food, reports International Finance News. It points out that domestic futures for pig feed reached Rmb4,290 per tonne in late August. In comparison rice cost Rmb2,826 per tonne, and wheat still less at Rmb2,530.

The reason for this strange anomaly? Pig feed is made of soya beans and, as we reported in WiC160, the price of this commodity has soared due to drought in the US and a poor harvest. The rising price is now putting pressure on Chinese farmers, making hoggeries into loss-makers and forcing some to start culling their pig herds. This is a move that worries the government since it could trigger inflationary pressures, reports Reuters. To counter the threat the state has started buying pigs to add to its reserves of frozen pork (which can be released onto the market if supplies fall, and threaten to drive up prices). China produces and consumes about half the world’s pork, making the price of the meat a sensitive issue.


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