China’s Pork, Beef Imports Remained Strong in August

Pork muscle cut imports largest since 2011

Despite the depreciation of its currency and other negative economic headlines, China reported large imports of pork and pork variety meat in August. At 125,132 metric tons (mt), imports increased 15 percent from a year ago and were the largest since April. The big increase was again in muscle cuts (64,478 mt, +55 percent), which reached a new high for the year and were the largest since December 2011.

For January through August, China’s pork/pork variety meat imports totaled 949,795 mt, up 4 percent year-over-year. Imports from the European Union (683,301 mt, +29 percent) posted strong growth while volume from the U.S. (172,505 mt, -37 percent) was lower.

Last week China’s hog prices declined slightly, after holding relatively steady for the previous six weeks at levels above 18 RMB/kg. Prices have since dipped to 17.98 RMB/kg, but were still up 20 percent from a year ago and are at their highest level since 2011.

January-August beef import value already matches last year’s record

China’s August beef and beef variety meat imports totaled 42,508 mt, down from the record set in July but still up 37 percent from a year ago. January-August imports were up 27 percent in volume to 285,928 mt, while import value ($1.35 billion, +41 percent) already matched last year’s record 12-month total. (For the region, however, growth in China’s imports has not fully offset this year’s slowdown in beef entering Hong Kong.)


Year-over-year increases were posted for all of China’s top beef suppliers, including Australia (103,315 mt, +2 percent), Uruguay (91,115 mt, +32 percent), New Zealand (49,821 mt, +49 percent) and Argentina (29,427 mt, +197 percent). Imports of Brazilian beef, which regained access in June, were only 3,006 mt according to China’s import data. But based on Brazil’s export data, shipments reached 27,847 mt through August. Canada’s shipments to China have also been gaining momentum, based on Canadian export data.

During his visit to the United States this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that China would not manipulate its currency to boost exports and promised greater progress in opening China’s import markets. Xi met privately with President Obama on Thursday, prior to a summit meeting and state banquet on Friday.

Import data source: Global Trade Atlas