CHINA, Peking. The People's Republic of China's imports fell again in May, falling below the May 2020 volume. Imports of grain and soybeans for feeding increased significantly.
China's demand for imported pork has steadily decreased in recent months. According to preliminary data from the Customs Administration, about 470,000 t of pork, including offal, were imported in May. In April, the figure had been 550,000 t and in March 580,000 t. If only fresh and frozen products are considered, there was a decline from 460,000 t to 370,000 t from March to May. For the first time this year, the volume of pork purchased internationally in May also fell below the level of the same month last year, by about 40,000 t, or 7%.
For the entire first five months of 2021, the People's Republic imported about 2.5 mill. t of pork, including byproducts, according to the Customs Administration; that was 220,000 t, or 10%, more than the same period last year. Chinese importers spent $6.77 bn. (€ 5.69 bn.) on this, increasing the import bill by the equivalent of € 1.53 bn., or just over one-third. Total meat imports amounted to 4.34 mill., up 13% on the same period last year.
International buyers in the People's Republic also significantly increased their purchases of dairy products. This increased by 36% to 1.86 mill. t compared to the period January to May 2020, with imports of milk powder rising by a good 18% to 770,000 t. The Chinese spent a total of $6.04 bn. (€5.1 bn.) on their dairy product purchases on the global market, up about 13% from the same period last year.
As livestock numbers, especially pigs, grew, so did demand for grain products. Imports of wheat nearly doubled from the first five months of 2020, totaling 4.61 mill. t; for corn, the import volume quadrupled to 11.7 mill. t. In addition, international purchases of soybeans increased 13% to 38.2 mill. t. Overall, Chinese agricultural imports from January to May were worth $87.8 bn. (€ 73.8 bn.), up $22.2 bn. (€ 18.7 bn.) or 34% from the same period last year.