Report: China to Import Less Pork

Feb. 5, 2021
Pork imports by China will decline this year compared to last, with implications for prices and supply in the United States and the rest of the world

Pork imports by China will decline this year compared to last, with implications for prices and supply in the United States and the rest of the world, according to a quarterly report from Rabobank.

The report notes that in 2020, China imported a record amount of pork meat and processed products. Total imports were 5.56 million metric tons, which was an 85% increase over 2019. The main factors were the pandemic and the continuing impact of African swine flu. However, the report noted, China’s pork imports are expected to decline between 10% and 30% this year as its domestic hog herds recover, nudging domestic production up by 10% to 15%.

As for the U.S. pork market, exports are expected to be strong but not as high as last year due to the Chinese situation. Still, a weaker dollar and more favorable trade policies should help boost exports. Domestically, pork production for the last quarter of 2020 was up 2.8%. Production in 2021 should compare favorably with pandemic-suppressed production last year, although the report notes that high feed prices and increased disease will limit growth.

“At current prices, hog producers are operating below break-even and are unlikely to move quickly to restore production,” the report notes.

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