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China’s pork imports double from October 2018

Customs data shows China’s pork imports in October doubled from a year ago despite ASF challenges.

25 November 2019, at 10:11am

Reuters reports that October’s pork imports came to 177,426 tonnes, a noted increase from September’s 161,836 tonnes.

According to data from the General Administration of Customs, since January 2019, pork imports stood at 1.5 million tonnes, up nearly 50 percent from the corresponding period a year earlier. The data is for muscle cuts and does not include offal and other non-muscle parts known as variety meats”.

African swine fever has reduced China’s pig herd by 41 percent after spreading throughout China and leaving many pig farmers unwilling to replenish their farms. In October, the drop in the herd pushed retail pork prices up 148 percent from October 2018, to almost 59 yuan ($8.38) per kg, causing a spike in food inflation.

China has been opening up its market to new sources of meat, approving dozens of new pork processing plants in Brazil, Argentina and Britain in recent months to help alleviate its protein shortage.

It received its first cargo of Italian pork this week, customs said on its website, while Argentina shipped its first boatload of chilled pork to China.

In the United States, top processor Smithfield has transformed a slaughterhouse to ship pig carcasses to China.

Imports of beef, usually more expensive than pork, are also benefiting from the meat shortage, with October arrivals at 150,829 tonnes, up 63.2 percent on a year ago.

For the first ten months, beef imports were 1.28 million tonnes, a jump of 54.5 percent from a year ago, customs said. Beef shipments are also growing, thanks to rising demand from China’s expanding middle class.

Read the original story from Reuters here.