July 24, 2014
In the first half of 2014, China's beef imports rose by 25% on-year to 156,000 tonnes, according to the organisation for the English beef and sheep industry - EBLEX.
The increase in imports is mainly driven by the country's growing appetite for foreign food products and a shortage in domestic supply.
EBLEX said it is also likely that high global prices could curb the import demand in China in the latter part of the year. However, any slowdown could also be consistent with an anticipated year-on-year drop in Australia's beef production.
Australia's beef shipments to China slowed in June and is overtaken by Uruguay as the biggest beef supplier to China for the first month since February 2013.
China imposed a ban on Brazilian beef in December 2012. Currently, only eight Brazilian enterprises have gained approval to export beef to China, while nine more are in the process of obtaining permission from the Chinese authorities.
With high input costs, inefficient production methods, weather constraints and diseases, China has its limitations to raise domestic beef production. EBLEX forecasts that China' beef imports will continue to rise in the near future.