The further growth of China’s demand for pigmeat imports “must now be in some doubt” according to AHBP Pork, based on a new analysis which takes account of the country’s recent stock market turmoil.
For 2014/15, as reported by USDA, China accounted for 12% of global pigmeat imports, an impressive figure which forecasters had been expecting to increase significantly over the next two years. One of the key questions now, however, is just how much consumer confidence in China will be damaged by the current slowing of the country’s economy.
“The slowdown could cause concern amongst global food exporters,” said AHDB Pork, adding that China’s rapid growth, previously running at 10% a year, and the emergence of a Chinese “middle class” consumer, had provided huge opportunities for other countries to satisfy a growing demand for western goods and services.
Even though current prices suggest that demand is still running ahead of China’s own pigmeat supply capacity, meaning there should still be scope for higher pork imports, AHDB Pork’s comment is that the current economic concerns “may temper expectations” to an extent.
It also warns that slower economic growth could hit consumption levels in the longer-term, particularly if the recent stock market shocks affect confidence among Chinese consumers.
Thankfully, there are less fears about the short-term, a point which AHDB Pork highlights as “welcome news for pork exporters around the world, including those from the UK”.