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H7N9 wipes 10 bln yuan from poultry biz

By Liang Fei (Global Times)

08:33, April 15, 2013

China's poultry industry is feeling the pain from climbing H7N9 fears.

China's poultry industry is feeling the pain from climbing H7N9 fears, with industry losses amounting to 10 billion yuan ($1.62 billion) in the one week after the H7N9 outbreak, Southern Metropolis Daily said Saturday, citing data from China Animal Agriculture Association.

This is only direct losses, and the real impact of the disease will be far more than that, Ma Chuang, deputy secretary-general at the Chinese Association of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, told the Global Times.

Many consumers have been reluctant to eat poultry since the H7N9 avian influenza outbreak started in late March, and some restaurants have stopped offering poultry dishes - leading to a major decline in both poultry prices and consumption.

For instance, the price for yellow feather chicken has fallen to around 3.6 yuan per kilogram at present, far below its cost price of 12.6 yuan per kilogram, which means that poultry farmers will suffer losses of around 15 yuan for each yellow feather chicken they sell, Ma said.

China's authorities have been taking precautions to halt the spread of the deadly disease. Some local governments have issued bans on poultry transportation and live poultry markets have been closed in cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

The widespread fears as well as the government's bans on poultry trading have cast a shadow over the whole industrial chain of the poultry industry.

"Many of my clients have cancelled their orders for baby chickens, and it is hard to sell nowadays even after I have lowered my prices again and again," Wu Yunming, a Beijing-based poultry farm owner, told the Global Times.

Wu said that he has to slaughter around 30,000 day-old chickens every three days as raising them will be cost-prohibitive when his company has lost around 400,000 yuan during the H7N9 influenza outbreak, a major hit for a small company.

Ducklings have also been slaughtered in some eastern provinces such as Fujian, media reports said.

Ma anticipated that the negative sentiment toward poultry products would last for at least two or three months. "What is more alarming is that it will be hard for poultry farmers to resume production capacity when the outbreak gradually fades away, as many of them have had to abandon some production capacity at present," said Ma.

Listed companies involved in the poultry sector have seen their stock prices tumbling over the past two weeks. Henan-based Chuying Agro-Pastoral Group saw its share prices drop over 9 percent, and New Hope Liuhe Co has also reported a share price decline of around 8 percent in this period.

As of 6pm Sunday, the H7N9 influenza has affected 60 patients while 13 of them have died.

Latest development of H7N9 in China[Special]

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