(Refiles to fix typographical error in headline) By Hallie Gu and Emily Chow BEIJING/SHANGHAI, April 20 (Reuters) – China expects to import more soybeans and pork this year following the novel coronavirus outbreak and African swine fever, which has decimated its pig herds. Soybean imports are forecast at 92.48 million tonnes this year, rising to 96.62 million tonnes in 2025 and 99.52 million tonnes in 2029, an official from the agriculture ministry told a video conference on the outlook for agriculture released on Monday. Pork imports this year are seen rising to 2.8 million tonnes, a 32.7% increase from the previous year. China is a key buyer and consumer of soybeans and pork globally, and typically imports millions of tonnes of soybeans per year to crush for meal to feed its livestock. The African swine fever outbreak, however, had slashed China’s pig herd by over 40% last year, reducing supplies in the world’s biggest pork consumer. Combined with the coronavirus outbreak, which hit the transport of pigs and delayed the restart of slaughtering plants, prices of China’s favourite meat rose to record levels in February. China has been increasing pork imports in recent months to make up for the drop… Read full this story
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