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China Pork Imports Revised Lower as the Global Pork Trade Dropped


While global pork exports were expected to suffer a setback in 2022, the outlook is increasingly grim, USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) said in the July 12 Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade report.


2022 China imports are down nearly 1.4 million tons this month from the April forecast to approximately half of 2021 levels due to moderate recovery in China pork production, according to USDA FAS. China is forecast to remain the world's leading pork importer, accounting for 20% of global shipments. These numbers are down significantly from its 42% of trade share in 2020.


"The sharp plunge in China demand leaves major exporters such as the European Union (EU), Brazil and the U.S. searching for markets to offset diminished trade," the report said. "With limited alternative markets that can absorb sizeable volumes, global pork trade is expected to fall 13% in 2022."


According to the report, changes in China's pork sector have a mixed impact on other meats. China chicken meat imports are revised lower in 2022 as consumers return to eating more pork, the preferred animal protein in China. However, unlike pork, the impact of the year-on-year decline in China chicken meat imports is far more muted as the country is a relatively small player in the global chicken meat trade. Major chicken meat exporters are expected to more easily offset the decline with shipments to other markets.


Still, China beef imports are forecast to rise 3% in 2022 as demand remains relatively unaffected by changes in the pork sector.


Key highlights from the report include:


  • Global pork production for 2022 is forecast at 110.7 million tons, virtually unchanged from April as an upward revision in China offsets declines in the EU and Brazil.
  • Production in China is raised nearly 2% to 51.8 million tons but remains below pre-African swine fever levels.
  • EU and Brazil production is revised 2% lower to 22.6 million tons and 4.3 million tons, respectively, as slowing export opportunities weigh on prices.
  • Global pork exports for 2022 are revised nearly 10% lower to 10.6 million tons. The decline is primarily driven by a reduction in China imports which are lowered 39% to nearly 2.2 million tons on improved domestic supplies.
  • Hong Kong imports are also revised down 21% to 275,000 tons as an increase in live swine imports from China bolsters local production.
  • Demand is forecasted to increase in other markets such as South Korea, Mexico, Japan and the Philippines, but are unable to offset the immense China decline.