Chinese imports of fresh/frozen pork continued to be significantly elevated in Q3 this year, increasing by 160 per cent on the same period in 2015 to reach 516,000 tonnes.
This takes import volumes for the first nine months of 2016 to 1.28 million tonnes, well over double last year’s figure.
Chinese pork imports have escalated this year due to insufficient domestic production, following last year’s rationalisation of the breeding herd and the imposition of stringent environmental barriers hindering expansion.
Strong demand for limited supplies drove the Chinese pork price to record highs in June, though it has subsequently declined, although remaining relatively strong. Reports of high temperatures reducing the consumer demand for pork, coupled to an increase in slaughtering rates, are thought to have influenced the drop.
Nonetheless, average unit prices of exports remained 19 per cent above last year’s levels during this period and plenty of scope was maintained for the major exporting nations to capitalise on Chinese demand.
At 873,000 tonnes, the EU was the dominant provider of imported pork to China during the first nine months of 2016. However, this represented 68 per cent of the total market share, 5 per cent lower than during the same period last year.
Within the EU, Germany held the leading export position, with volumes up 91 per cent year-on-year.
Spain and Denmark were also key players, with shipments more than doubling during this period. Non-EU imports grew ahead of EU shipments to the end of September 2016, with volumes from the US doubling while those from Canada almost quadrupled. Brazil was particularly successful following its securing of market access, shipping 61,000 tonnes to China during this period and gaining a 5 per cent share in the Chinese import market.
Pig offal imports also grew strongly, rising by 70 per cent year on year, to almost a million tonnes in January-September 2016. While EU supplies rose by 39 per cent, its market share fell from over 70 per cent to less than 60 per cent. This was due to imports from both the US and Canada being more than 2.5 times greater than in the same period last year.