CHINA, Beijing. China's hunger for meat is unbroken. Especially for pork, there is still a big gap between self-sufficiency and demand.
China also imported record quantities of meat in July. According to customs statistics data, total imports amounted to almost one million tons; that was 437,000 t or 78% more than in the same month last year. The invoice for this amounted to € 2.43 bn., which means that meat importers spent around € 987 mill. more than in July 2019. The quantities of pork and by-products purchased were particularly well up on the same month of the previous year, with an increase of 87.1%; growth in beef was more modest at 35.1% compared with the same month of the previous year.
The gap between demand and domestic production caused by the aftermath of African swine fever (ASF) has caused China's meat imports to grow more than ever before this year. According to the General Customs Administration, the total reference quantity from January to July 2020 amounted to 5.75 mill. t, an increase of 2.45 mill. t or 74.2% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. The related import expenditure almost doubled to € 15.52 bn.
Pork was in particularly high demand, with international purchases, including slaughter by-products, rising by 98.2% to 3.38 mill. t compared with the first seven months of 2019. Pork accounted for 2.56 mill. t of this total, which represented a strong increase of 138.5% on the previous year. Cumulative imports of beef amounted to 1.20 mill. t, 41.5% more than in the same period of the previous year.
In the period under review, Chinese importers spent the equivalent of around € 7.5 bn. on purchasing pork and its by-products on the world market, and for beef the bill amounted to € 5.12 bn. Detailed data on the likewise increased imports of poultry and lamb were not included in the trade statistics. On the other hand, the customs authorities announced that six new US meat exporters had been approved to supply the Chinese market at the end of August; in addition, three companies from Uruguay had had their export licenses returned.