December 9, 2020
China's beef imports expected to be lower next year due to reduced Australian imports
Pan Chenjun, senior analyst at Dutch bank and agribusiness consultancy Rabobank, said China's beef imports will drop to less than 20% in 2021 because of reduced supplies from key beef exporter Australia and increased domestic pork production, Reuters reported.
China beef imports had increased in recent years with shipments 60% higher in 2019 to 1.66 million tonnes and 40% up this year to date. The country accounts for a quarter of worldwide beef trade.
Pan said imports from Australia, China's third biggest beef supplier, are expected to decline due to lower output and political tensions between both countries. China has suspended exports from six beef plants in Australia this year.
She said strict COVID-19 coronavirus tests of frozen foods at China's ports has slowed beef imports as well, but this will not have a long-term impact.
High beef prices in China shows demand for the meat is still strong. Pan said the pandemic has increased China's household consumption for beef, thanks to ecommerce platforms in the country especially as restaurants were shut down during a nationwide lockdown earlier this year.