Most China Pig Farms In Red, Disease Hits Restocking

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beijing/reuters

A majority of Chinese pig farmers have been racking up losses since March and outbreaks of pig disease have led many to reduce the restocking of piglets, the ministry of agriculture said.

Pork prices have been falling for 11 weeks, a decline of 9.8 per cent from the year-ago period, which have amounted to losses of 200 yuan ($29.30) per head in some major breeding areas, said the ministry’s spokesman in a report late April 1.

Weak pig breeding could hurt demand for feed ingredient, soymeal , the product of soybean. China is the world’s largest soy importer.

“Sluggish pork sales, coupled with high costs of corn and labour will continue to keep pork prices low in May while breeders will stay in the red for a while,” said the spokesman.

China’s top planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and commerce ministry have agreed to aid falling pork prices by stockpiling for state reserves, but so far nothing has happened.

“Pig diseases remain a key factor affecting breeders’ confidence in restocking,” said the ministry. It did not give any details of the diseases. Feed officials said more Chinese provinces reported outbreaks of disease, larger than has been reported by the ministry this month.

Some analysts argued that Beijing’s stockpiling of pork coupled with its subsidies for breeding sows have misguided breeders, who have bred a larger-than-needed number of pigs.

Foreign land buys controversial in Hungary

by marton dunai

budapest reuters

Hungarian opposition party Fidesz will bar foreigners from buying arable land indefinitely if it wins elections next month as all polls indicate, party leader Viktor Orban said on March 31.

“Foreigners will never buy arable land here, no matter what they decide in Brussels,” the national news agency MTI cited Orban, a former prime minister, as saying. “I am committed to defending Hungarian land.”

If implemented, his pledge could put Budapest at loggerheads with its European Union partners and ultimately lead to it being taken to the European Court of Justice for obstructing the free movement of capital – a key EU treaty principle.

Hungary’s 2004 accession treaty barred land purchases by foreigners until 2011 in an effort to prevent wealthy European investors buying up large chunks of arable land in the poor new member state.

Similar transition clauses were negotiated by other ex-communist newcomers such as Poland and the Czech Republic.

Agriculture accounts for only 4.3 per cent of Hungary’s gross domestic product but the land issue touches an emotional political nerve in a landlocked country that endured foreign domination and has deep agrarian traditions.

“The future of the Hungarian land depends not on the decision in Brussels,” Orban said. “(It depends) only on us.”

Argentine soybean crop keeps getting bigger

hamburg reuters

Argentina’s 2010 soybean crop is likely to rise to 53.3 million tonnes from 32 million tonnes in 2009, Hamburg-based oil-seeds analysts Oil World forecast on Mar. 30.

This was up by 1.3 million tonnes from Oil World’s previous estimate on Mar 2.

It also raised its forecast of Brazil’s 2010 soybean crop to 66.0 million tonnes, a more moderate rise of 0.5 million tonnes from its previous forecast and up from 57.5 million tonnes last year.

“A record oilseed crop will be produced in Argentina this year due to abundant and timely rainfall in most parts of the country in Jan/ March 2010,” Oil World said.

Argentine farmers had planted 18.9 million hectares of soybeans for harvesting in early 2010, up from 17.5 million hectares in last year’s drought-reduced harvest, it estimated.

Crop disease, especially the Asian Rust fungus, means Brazil’s soybean crop was not facing quite such a large rise as in Argentina, it said.

“The global market is in transition from scarcity to ampleness of soybeans as a result of the record crops in South America,” it said.

The global 2009/10 soybean crop is forecast by Oil World to rise 44 million tonnes on the year to 255.5 million tonnes, largely because of the sharp increase in Argentina.

This would be above Oil World’s forecast 2009/10 season consumption of 234.4 million tonnes, up 9.9 million tonnes on the year.

Global 2009/10 season ending soybean stocks were forecast by Oil World to increase by 21.1 million tonnes on the year to 68.1 million tonnes.

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