The same week United States President Donald Trump announced sweeping increases on tariffs against Chinese goods, Chinese buyers dropped orders for 3,247 metric tons of US pork - the biggest cancellation in more than a year, according to US Department of Agriculture data released on Thursday.
The cancellation came during the week ended May 9, a blow to the US$6.5 billion export market for American pork, vital to the burgeoning US meat industry. Prior to the trade war, China and Hong Kong combined were the second largest export market for US pork.
For months, the US farm sector - which has been among the hardest hit by the trade war between the world's two largest economies - had been banking on China increasing its US pork purchases due to African swine fever (ASF).
But the trade war, and China's tariffs against US pork, is showing signs of slowing China's willingness to load up on the meat, say industry analysts.
Earlier this year, China cancelled sales of 53 metric tons in the week ended Feb 28, sales of 999 metric tons in the week ended March 21, and 214 metric tons in the week ended April 18, according to USDA data.
Market analysts said the cancellation news on Thursday weighed on the lean hog futures market.