CHINA, Beijing. For the first time in a long time, prices are falling in China. Consumers benefit from this change.
As the National Bureau of Statistics announced in Beijing, the average consumer price level in September was 1.6% lower than in the previous month. Compared to September 2019, however, Chinese consumers still had to spend a good quarter more on their pork purchases. However, the rate of inflation is declining noticeably compared with the previous year, as the average for the first three quarters of 2020 was still 82.4%. The weaker price trend seems to continue in October. According to the statisticians, not only slaughter pig prices continued to fall, but also the wholesale prices for pork, which in mid-October were 2.9% down on the previous month at CNY 44.42 per kg (€ 5.65).
According to the analysts, the floods in southern China in the summer had contributed to an additional shortage of supply in the pork market, which had already been limited by African swine fever (ASF). Numerous animals had died or did not reach the slaughterhouse at that time. This effect is hardly noticeable now, but all the more so because the herd of pigs is growing again. According to current data from the statistics office, the Chinese pig population at the end of the 3rd quarter amounted to 370.4 mill. animals, 20.7% more than twelve months previously. The number of breeding sows increased even more strongly, namely by 28% to 38.2 mill. animals, according to official figures.
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture recently announced that the pig population has now reached 80% of the level of "normal years". Together with the still high pork imports and the invested reserves in storage, the market should be sufficiently supplied for the 4th quarter with seasonally increasing demand, the governmental agencies report. The peak of expensive pork for Chinese consumers is therefore over. In this case, exporters from Europe, the USA and Brazil would probably also have to prepare themselves for lower prices when selling to China.