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26

2022

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12

Chinese Beef Imports Increased 12 Percent This Year

Source:

Euromeat

In the year to date (January-September), China imported 1.94 million tonnes of fresh and frozen beef, according to AHDB. This is an increase of 205,400 tonnes (12%) on the same period last year.

In the year to date (January-September), China imported 1.94 million tonnes of fresh and frozen beef, according to AHDB. This is an increase of 205,400 tonnes (12%) on the same period last year.

 

Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, New Zealand and Australia, the top 5 suppliers of fresh and frozen beef to China, accounted for 86.9% (1.69 million tonnes) of the total imports. Over the last four years, imports have been increasing from the rest of the world, driven particularly by the US. China opened up trade with the UK in 2019 after lifting a ban imposed following the BSE outbreak. For the year to date (January-September), the UK has exported just over 1,000 tonnes of fresh and frozen beef to China. While this is double the volume recorded for the same period in 2021, it is down on both 2019 and 2020.

 

Frozen beef accounted for just over 96% of Chinese beef imports between January-September 2022, holding relatively stable at this level over the last 4 years.

 

While pork remains the staple meat among Chinese consumers, beef demand is forecast to grow.  Pressures from African Swine Fever (ASF) coupled with an increase in higher-income households within the Chinese population have likely supported demand for beef. This is especially true in retail, as ready-to-cook beef products become more widely available. However overall, domestic beef demand growth has been slow. The reopening of foodservice, plus supply chain disruption due to COVID-19, will have offered support to imports. However, the foodservice sector has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels, and the wider economy continues to be affected by zero-COVID policies.

 

While domestic consumption of beef is forecast to grow, production is also expected to increase in the medium term. The rate at which these two factors grow will of course influence the rate of change in imports; currently industry reports expect China to import slightly less in 2023 vs 2022, but imports are expected to remain in growth longer-term.