CHINA, Peking. In the first half of the year, the People's Republic imported more than $100 billion worth of food and animal feed. However, there are signs of a trend reversal in meat.
Chinese importers of agricultural and food products ordered significantly more goods from their international suppliers in the first half of 2021 than in the same period last year and also had to dig noticeably deeper into their pockets to do so. According to customs statistics, agricultural goods worth € 91.7 bn. were imported; this was € 23.2 bn. or 34% more than in the period from January to June 2020. However, the comparison must take into account the fact that the global Corona pandemic slowed down the international exchange of goods in the first half of 2020.
In terms of value, soybeans remained the most important import commodity for the People's Republic. Spending on the protein crop, which is increasingly sourced from the US, increased 44% year-on-year to around € 21.6 bn., with import volumes rising 9% to 49 mill. t. The resurgence of the pig herd is likely to have been the main reason for China's higher soybean demand. Imports of cereals and flour soared by as much as 169% year-on-year to 33.9 mill. t. Corn imports more than quadrupled to 15.3 mill. t, while wheat imports were up 60% to 5.4 mill. t.
China's meat imports were at record levels in the early months of this year; there has since been a marked slowdown due to increased livestock numbers - especially pigs. In June, total meat imports were 17% below the level of the same month last year; for pork, including by-products, the drop was 16%. For the first half of the year as a whole, Customs still reports an increase of almost 7% in meat imports to 5.08 mill. t, resulting in a six percent increase in the import bill to € 14 bn. Pork imports, including by-products, were nearly 5% higher than the first half of 2020 at 2.95 mill. t; beef was up 14% to 1.25 mill. t.