These box office numbers do not include the cost of production or marketing costs. They also don't count the billions in merchandising that Disney has made over the last...Entertainmentread more
Instagram began tests that hide "like" counts on posts. That means influencers who market products on Instagram will have to rely on different metrics to show success.Technologyread more
Peter Neupert worked for Microsoft and Amazon-backed Drugstore.com, where he got to know Jeff Bezos. He now advises start-ups.Technologyread more
Last week shows that oil prices are not the indicator for Middle East tensions they once were, and worries about global demand and growing U.S. production has changed that...Market Insiderread more
Facebook Vice President David Marcus is the face of the company's Libra digital currency, but the original driving force was a 26-year-old female corporate-development...Technologyread more
The firing of the tear gas was the latest confrontation between police and protesters who have taken to the streets for over a month to fight a proposed extradition bill and...China Politicsread more
Amazon's new policy for account suspensions doesn't go far enough to protect sellers from potentially unfair and wrongful suspensions, merchants say.Technologyread more
There is no end in sight to the Boeing 737 Max grounding after two fatal crashes, prompting airlines to rethink their growth plans.Airlinesread more
After a year of flooding, Midwest farmers face a stifling heat wave that's spreading across the U.S.Weather & Natural Disastersread more
Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg is painting a painful picture for stocks as earnings season goes into full gear.Futures Nowread more
Rossello is facing public furor over an obscenity-laced online chat that showed the governor and his close advisers insulting women and mocking constituents, including victims...Politicsread more
* Overabundance of meat in U.S. hurt WH Group profit
* Smithfield pork exports to Shuanghui down 45 pct in 2018
* Lower pig prices in China due to African swine fever (Adds executives' comments; background)
BEIJING, March 15 (Reuters) - China's WH Group said on Friday its fourth-quarter net profit fell 7 percent to $290 million, as low pig prices in China and the Sino-U.S. trade war hit the income of the world's top pork producer.
The decline, based on a comparison of nine-month and full-year numbers released on Friday, underlined challenges faced by pork producers around the world.
Net profit for 2018 came to $1.05 billion, WH Group said, down 4 percent from the previous year. Revenue rose 1 percent in 2018 to $22.61 billion, it said in a statement.
WH Group, which owns U.S.-based Smithfield Foods Inc, said average pork prices in the United States dropped 9 percent in 2018 due to higher supplies from an expanding slaughter sector.
Also, the China-U.S. trade war has hit pork shipments between the two countries. In April, China slapped a 25-percent import duty on most U.S. pork products in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products.
Pork products were also included in a second round of tariffs of 25 percent introduced in July.
Speaking to reporters, WH Group chairman Wan Long said the group's pork shipments from Smithfield Foods to Shuanghui, its Chinese business, tumbled 45 percent last year due to the trade dispute.
Weak exports and expansion of output in the United States pushed down pig and pork prices, and hurt company profit, Wan added.
Lower pork prices in China due to an outbreak of severe African swine fever disease also hurt the competitiveness of U.S. exports, WH Group said.
China is battling a fast-spreading epidemic of African swine fever. The disease has now spread to 28 provinces and regions since the first outbreak in August last year.
Pig prices in major production regions fell sharply late last year after a government ban on live hog transport restricted trade and caused oversupply.
But prices have started to recover in the past weeks, in early signs that the deadly African swine fever has slashed production in the world's largest pig herd.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Friday that China's pig herd shrank 16.6 percent in February from the previous year due to the disease.
China made its biggest purchases of U.S. pork in nearly two years last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Thursday, as Chinese hog prices surged higher.
Live hog prices in China hit a 14-month high this week.
Pig prices in China are set to rise significantly in the second half of the year and next year, Ma Xiangjie, President of Shuanghui, told analysts.
Hong Kong-listed shares of WH Group are up more than 30 percent since the start of the year as the market expects higher pork prices in 2019 on reduced supplies. The stock closed up 4.56 percent at HK$7.8 ($0.99) per share on Friday.
WH Group will keep expanding its slaughtering capacity, the company added.
It will also increase U.S. exports to China if the Sino-U.S. trade issues can be resolved, Wan told reporters.
($1 = 7.8495 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Additional Reporting by Forina Fu and Shellin Li in HONGKONG; Editing by Tom Hogue and Mark Potter)