Pork prices in the United States climbed to a high of US$1.76 per kilogram in the second quarter amid the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus but are still about 30 percent cheaper than Chinese meat prices, China Business News reported Monday.
Chinese pig farmers face a costly challenge with their hogs priced at 14.30 yuan (US$2.33) per kg. They would suffer huge losses if prices fall to 5 yuan per kg or lower.
The US Department of Agriculture projected hog prices would drop to US$1.50 per kg in 2015, the report said.
One reason for the price gap is the much cheaper fodder costs in the US where corn and wheat, the two major components of pig fodder, are inexpensive.
If China fully opens the market to pork imports, a flood of cheaper US pork products could hit its domestic market, the report said.
However, American producers face an obstacle in exporting pork products to China as the US practice of feeding pigs with clenbuterol is illegal in China.
Using clenbuterol can help cut the production period by a week and therefore save some fodder expenses, Feng Yonghui, an analyst, was quoted as saying.
But even if US pig farmers stopped feeding pigs with clenbuterol their costs for raising pigs will still be much lower than for their Chinese counterparts.
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