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The spread of African Swine Fever

10 May 2019

The rapid spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) throughout East Asia has started to affect AMIS commodity markets. ASF is now endemic in China; it has recently spread to Viet Nam, Mongolia and Cambodia and is likely to make inroads into other Asian countries.

The extent and speed of the ASF spread through Asia suggest that the impacts on AMIS commodities will likely be pronounced and prolonged. ASF has already taken a toll on feed use in the region and exerted downward pressure on international soybean and maize prices; further spill over effects on wheat and rice markets are expected, even if they are likely to be much more muted. 

Several factors make the current ASF outbreak particularly significant. First of all, the most affected country, China, is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pig meat. As China is also the largest importer of soybeans, any sizeable slump in domestic needs will inevitably affect world markets. Secondly, many of the ASF affected countries are underequipped to contain the spread of the disease, which might therefore continue for years. Finally, the effects of ASF are compounded by other distortions that have roiled global commodity markets, such as the current trade dispute between China and the United States.

Against this background, supply and demand forecasts for 2019/20 will be even harder to produce than usual. This calls for constant enhancement of AMIS to fully exploit available information and analyze the ripple effects of ASF on commodity markets. But AMIS can only work effectively if it receives reliable data, fast and effectively, highlighting the need for greater support from all its member countries.