April 15, 2021
China's meat imports in March reached 1.02 million tonnes
Data from China's General Administration of Customs showed the country imported 1.02 million tonnes of meat in March this year, the highest since January 2020 as China continues to stock up to fill domestic shortages, Reuters reported.
The data showed imports increased 11.4% from 919,000 tonnes in March 2020, even after domestic pork prices dropped since the start of 2021.
The rise in meat imports comes as China's pork production continues to be affected by African swine fever.
Pan Chenjun, senior analyst at Rabobank, said the new import volume is a possible record, and reflects the market expectation of a domestic meat shortage. Pan added that market sentiment remains unchanged since late-March.
Industry sources and analysts told Reuters that a wave of ASF outbreaks have decimated 20% of swine breeding herd in northern China, resulting in panicked farmers slaughtering smaller swine.
The PORK-CN-TOT-D domestic pork prices have dropped 40% since the start of 2021 due to liquidation of stocks and poor demand.
Pan said China's meat imports will remain high as most project an ongoing supply shortage.
The General Administration of Customs data also showed imports reached 2.63 million tonnes between January to March 2021, 20.8% higher compared to the same period in 2020.