China seen importing 8% less pork in 2023: USDA's FAS

China's pork imports in 2023 are forecast at 1.85 million metric tons, an 8% decline from this year's lowered estimate, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said in a new attaché report from Beijing.

Ample domestic production and weaker consumer demand are curbing pork prices in the country, the report said. At the same time, high transportation and energy costs and strong global pork prices are making imports less competitive.

In the first half of this year, China's pork imports fell by more than 60%, to 1.1 million metric tons. COVID-19 testing, disinfection and certification measures remain in effect across China, putting an additional burden on imported products to clear customs and cross provincial borders. Pork imports are declining from strong levels over the past few years.

The country's pork production in 2023 is expected to grow to 52 million metric tons, exceeding last year's output by 2%, FAS said. The estimate is below pre-African swine fever levels but in line with softer consumer demand and a less optimistic economic outlook, according to the report.

Domestic slaughter is expected to rise to 660 million head on increased production as large producers meet targets and midsized producers expand production. However, high feed costs and consumer price sensitivity will squeeze margins and lower producers’ incentives to raise large hogs, resulting in declines in average live hog weights, the report said.

In the beef market, strong carryover stocks of cattle will support an increase in beef production to 7.4 million metric tons in 2023, FAS predicted. Imports of beef are forecast to decline to 2.5 million metric tons due to the less optimistic economic outlook, tight global supplies, COVID-19 restrictions, and uncertainty in the hotel, restaurant and institutional sector.

Par: Susan Kelly (15/09/2022)


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