Driven by Chinese demand, Brazil's Q2 hog slaughtering highest on record

SAO PAULO, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Brazil slaughtered 12.1 million hogs in the second quarter, the highest number since records began being kept in 1997, the government’s statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday, citing strong demand from Chinese buyers.

The result also marks a 6.2% rise from same period in 2019 and an 1.8% increase compared to the first quarter of 2020.

China’s pork imports from Brazil grew after African swine fever, a deadly pig disease, reduced the size of its hog herd and slashed internal production, IBGE said.

Brazil’s cattle slaughtering, on the other hand, fell by 8% to 7.3 million head from the same quarter a year ago as the industry felt the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to IBGE. The drop in cattle processing to the lowest level since the second quarter of 2011 also reflects higher calf prices due to a seasonal reduction in the number of animals available for slaughtering, IBGE said.

The pandemic also affected chicken processors, as some plants in Brazil were struck by outbreaks of the novel coronavirus and had to slow or suspend production, especially in the south of the country.

In the second quarter, Brazil slaughtered 1.41 billion chickens, 1% below the same quarter last year and 6.8% lower than in the first quarter of 2020, IBGE said. (Reporting by Ana Mano and Roberto Samora; Editing by Will Dunham)

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