China raises pork imports, releases stock to expand supply

Posted by Marina
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday it would seek to increase pork imports as well as freeze frozen pork, beef and mutton from state reserves in due course to increase supply in the market. 

The comments came as pork prices in the world's largest beef consumer hit a record high after an African swine fever epidemic swept through the nation's herd, killing millions of animals. 

The country's pork herd has shrunk by almost a third from last year, according to official data, and pork prices have soared since June. 

Meat imports have already increased by 36% in the first seven months of this year, and analysts expect them to double from 2018 levels by 2020. 

"We will continue ... encouraging the expansion of pork imports," ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters at a regular briefing. 

China has agreed to start importing pork from Argentina this year and could also approve additional plants for export from Brazil and Great Britain. 

With the problem in China, demand for meat from Brazil is growing, with the sector talking about “perfect bonanza”, and other positive factors influencing business. But Brazilian industry still awaits the release of more units for export. 

Gao also said China would release meat from its reserves to stabilize supplies. 

China often releases some of its stored meat when prices are high or during periods of high demand, such as the weeks following the Lunar New Year holiday, the country's biggest festival. 

The government released 9,600 tonnes of pork from reserves in January, according to state media reports. But while the total volumes held by the country are not known, analysts say they are unlikely to be significant enough to have a real influence on market supplies. 

"The government wants to support the market, but that's another political gesture," said Pan Chenjun, senior analyst at Rabobank. 

Retail pork prices jumped 7.8 percent in the week to August 14, reaching RMB 32.4 per kilo, according to Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs data, up almost 50 percent from the same time of year. previous. 

China's cabinet called for measures to support the recovery of production. 

Source: Agrolink