U.S. Markets closed

300 Million Chickens at ‘Edge of Death’ on Hubei Lockdown

Alfred Cang
300 Million Chickens at ‘Edge of Death’ on Hubei Lockdown

(Bloomberg) -- The lockdown in China’s Hubei province is pushing its flock of more than 300 million chickens to the “edge of death,” according to the region’s poultry association.

Halting transport in and out of Hubei has “basically paralyzed” shipments of animal feed supplies and the raw materials needed to make them, the local poultry association said in letters, seen by Bloomberg, asking state producers to deliver supplies urgently.

Most farms in the province will likely run out of feed by the end of the week, said a separate letter from the provincial agricultural department seen by Bloomberg. Hubei consumes about 1,800 tons of corn and 1,200 tons of soymeal a day as animal feed, and may see a 600,000-ton deficit of these products by the end of next month, the letters said.

Calls to the offices of Hubei’s agriculture department and poultry association went unanswered. The China Animal Agriculture Association called on the country’s feed makers to supply 18,000 tons of corn and 12,000 tons of soymeal to Hubei immediately, according to a website statement Thursday.

Industries from carmakers to retailers have been hit by the spread of the novel coronavirus in China as the death toll rises and authorities globally tighten travel restrictions and movement of people to contain the epidemic. Commodities markets have been especially hit hard on fears that demand from China, the world’s top producer and user, will weaken and hurt consumption of everything from crude to soybeans.

Egg futures on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange are set to resume trading on Feb. 3 after Beijing extended the Lunar New Year break and delayed the opening of the financial markets. Hubei province is the country’s 6th-biggest poultry producer and accounts for 5% of China’s annual egg output.

(Adds response from China Animal Agriculture Association in 4th paragraph)

To contact the reporter on this story: Alfred Cang in Singapore at acang@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net, Anna Kitanaka, Ainslie Chandler

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.