China’s Beef Imports Record-large in September

China’s beef/beef variety meat imports set another monthly record in September at 31,144 mt, up 390 percent from a year ago. This pushed the January-September total to 224,598 mt valued at nearly $950 million, more than seven times the volume and value imported in the same period of 2012. September imports were again led by Australia (16,885 mt, +669 percent), Uruguay (7,589 mt, +298 percent), Canada (2,987 mt, +439 percent) and New Zealand (2,912 mt, +194 percent). China’s beef prices remain 25 percent higher than last year, at around $4.50 per pound. HK-C-MBI

Hong Kong’s September beef/bvm imports slowed from the previous two months, but were still up 58 percent compared to last year at 57,475 mt. Imports were larger from all main suppliers including Brazil (30,378 mt, +72 percent), the United States (11,739 mt, +44 percent), Argentina (2,949 mt, +60 percent), Australia (2,610 mt, +9 percent), Paraguay (2,378 mt, +174 percent) and Canada (2,133 mt, +16 percent). For January through September, Hong Kong’s imports totaled 519,837 mt – still more than double the volume for China.

Combined January-September beef/bvm imports for the China/Hong Kong region were up 116 percent to 744,435 mt. Brazil and the United States are among the region’s top three beef suppliers, even though neither is eligible to export to China. Brazil leads the way at 290,530 mt (+74 percent from a year ago), followed by Australia (133,418 mt, +340 percent) and the U.S. (86,140 mt, +106 percent).

Pork imports slow in September, but still higher year-to-date
China’s pork/pork variety meat imports eased slightly in September to 118,674 mt, down 1 percent from last year. But January-September imports were still up 3 percent to 1.038 million mt as strong growth from the EU, Canada and Chile offset decreases from the U.S. and Brazil. Hong Kong’s pork/pvm imports slowed in September to the lowest volume since February, but were about even with last year at 41,902 mt (excluding imports from China). HK-C-MPI

Combined imports for China/Hong Kong in September were down 4 percent from a year ago to 127,064 mt, the lowest volume since April. This reflects USMEF’s subtraction of large re-exports from Hong Kong in an effort to not double-count imports into the region. China’s pork prices have eased recently but at around $1.18 per pound, remain 7 percent higher than last year. Wholesale prices for pork variety meat have been relatively steady, indicating a stable market situation.

(Import data source: Global Trade Atlas)