In December, China’s pork imports rose almost four times from a year earlier, according to calculations by Reuters of customs data, as the country bought more pork ahead of the January Lunar New Year holiday.
December imports totaled 375,000 tons, compared to 95,384 tons a year earlier and 229,707 tons in November 2019, the outlet reports. In 2019, pork imports rose 75% to 2.108 million tons, following the herd-devastating outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the country, according to the General Administration of Customs data.
Reuters says that China’s soybean and pork imports from the U.S. “significantly rebounded” in November and December 2019, with the customs vice minister stating that China’s agricultural imports from the U.S. were $2.05 billion (14/1 billion yuan) in December.
The outlet also notes that this statement was made ahead of Phase 1 trade deal signatures between Washington and Beijing, with hopes for big farm imports by China dimming in recent days.
ASF has nearly cut China’s herd in half, sending pork prices to record levels, while imports of beef, which is more expensive, but increasingly popular with the growing middle class, have also expanded, Reuters says.
In December, beef imports rose 80.6% on the year to 189,000 tons, according to Reuters calculations, which is up marginally from November imports of 186,984 tons.
These calculations echo U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) data about November’s record pork exports from the U.S. for more on that, and predictions for 2020, listen to the audio clip below from Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for the Asia Pacific.