Meat cases in Philippine retail stores were missing pork recently according to The Economist magazine when retailers refused to stock it in protest of a 60-day price cap imposed by the government. Pork, a staple in the country, is in short supply due to the African Swine Fever (ASF). As a result, prices of pork have soared causing a spike in inflation. Inflation in the Philippines hit a 2-year high of 4.2 percent in January.
Retailers refusal to sell pork has created a prolific black market for farmers with product to sell. The Philippine government is working with farmers to restock the herd, but the effort has yet to provide any relief in the market. As a result, the Philippines’ porcine price problems may provide greater export opportunities for Nebraska and U.S. pork producers. The government has loosened quotas for certain categories of pork imports and is also considering tariff reductions to the displeasure of its farmers. The Economist notes the lowest tariff rate currently is 30 percent. Even at that rate, the country is already stepping up its imports. The Meat Export Federation says U.S. exports to the Philippines in January nearly doubled from a year ago, increasing 98 percent, valued at $11.3 million (up 99 percent). Pork production troubles in the Philippines, coupled with the resurgence of ASF in China, portends of continued strong exports of U.S. pork.