China/Hong Kong’s Pork Imports near Record Pace; Beef Imports Continue to Soar

Chinese Pork Imports

Combined China and Hong Kong imports of pork/pork variety meat totaled 144,545 mt in November, down slightly from October but 2 percent higher than a year ago. This pushed the January-November total to 1.53 million mt, 6 percent above last year’s pace (muscle cuts +4 percent to 715,826 mt; variety meat +8 percent to 818,822 mt), with strong growth from the EU, Canada and Chile offsetting smaller volumes from the United States and Brazil.

With a strong December performance, pork/pvm imports to the region will approach the 2011 record of 1.7 million mt. USMEF data show that China’s wholesale variety meat prices have remained strong through December, even though hog and pork prices have eased. So imports are expected to remain robust through the Chinese New Year celebrations at the end of January.


Combined imports of beef/beef variety meat totaled 98,016 mt in November, up 97 percent from a year ago. January-November imports reached 929,034 mt (+108 percent), with strong increases from all main suppliers, including: Brazil (353,621 mt, +66 percent), Australia (174,169 mt, +259 percent), U.S. (117,625 mt, +111 percent), and Uruguay (81,421 mt, +212 percent).

Despite the lack of access for U.S. and Brazilian beef, China’s beef/bvm imports in November reached 29,194 mt, up 74 percent from a year ago. January-November imports were up 413 percent to 282,390 mt, with strong growth from Australia (145,090 mt, +520 percent), Uruguay (72,189 mt, +394 percent), New Zealand (35,736 mt, +407 percent), Canada (21,900 mt, +716 percent) and Argentina (7,428 mt, up from 38 mt last year). China’s beef prices continued to trend higher, averaging $4.68 in late December. Prices are up 19 percent from a year ago and have increased 77 percent since January 2011.


Hong Kong’s November beef/bvm imports totaled 68,822 mt, up 109 percent from a year ago. This pushed January-November imports to 646,644 mt, up 65 percent. These results were led by strong increases from Brazil (353,621 mt, +72 percent) and the U.S. (117,625 mt, +111 percent).

With Vietnam’s beef imports from India included, USMEF estimates the Greater China Region’s beef/bvm imports to total about $5.5 billion in 2013. By a significant margin, this makes Greater China the largest beef importing region in the world.

Source: USMEF calculations are based on Global Trade Atlas data. Pork/pvm data exclude Hong Kong’s imports from China and re-exports from Hong Kong.