U.S. and China Report Conflicting Pork Sales to China

Cargo containers are primarily used on ships to haul goods. ( PughPugh / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 )

Chinese firms claim they have purchased 700,000 metric tons of pork from the U.S. this year to meet market demand, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday. However, U.S. government data shows smaller pork sales.

From January to August, pork exports came in at 294,453 metric tons, U.S. Census Bureau trade data showed. Weekly USDA export sales data show more recent buying has increased China’s pork purchase total to around 300,000 metric tons for shipment this year and about 135,000 metric tons for delivery in 2020.

On Friday, China agreed to purchase $40 to $50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural goods in phase one of an agreement to end the trade war.

The conflicting data just adds to the confusion in the U.S. livestock market regarding whether or not weekly U.S. export sales data includes hog carcasses, which are preferred by China, Reuters reports.

The USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service has previously said it plans to publish a notification clarifying reporting requirements for pork exports soon, Reuters reports.

USDA confirmed a net 1.18 million metric tons in soybean sales to China in the week ended Oct. 3 and record sales of pork, including 18,810 metric tons for shipment this year and 123,362 metric tons for shipment in 2020.

Analysts caution that pork purchases to China may not all get shipped. 

More from Farm Journal’s PORK:

‘Phase One' of U.S.-China Trade Deal Offers Hope for Pork Producers

China Buys Record Volume of Pork

John Phipps: Why ASF Outbreak Estimates in China Are Hogwash