The U.S. hog and pork futures lost some ground on Monday, as Japan opened up its market to some European Union countries. Specifically Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Austria can now ship pork products in to Japan, according to the United Press International. Of course, the country of most interest is Denmark since it is Japan's No. 1 supplier.
It has been just more than one month – March 23 – that Japan had shut off its market to these and other countries due to the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak that started in the United Kingdom this past February.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange's hog and pork futures prices had risen over the past month in response to Japan's temporary ban of EU pork. The hope, of course, was that the United States would be able to fill at least some of the void. The ban, however, did not last long enough to provide that opportunity.
Japan is maintaining its ban on cow, goat and sheep meat imports from all 15 EU countries. The country had banned these products due to bovine spongiform encephalopathy concerns prior to the FMD break.
Japan's agriculture minister said that tests showed the risk of introducing FMD to Japan from the four country's pork products was extremely small. As for Germany, Italy, Belgium and Spain, the ag minister said that more data were needed to make that determination.