China meat imports down by a third as domestic production rises

China’s meat imports across January and February have fallen by a third (-33%) from the same period in 2021, according to the latest customs data, likely due to an increase in domestic production.

The data from the General Administration of Customs showed that China brought in 1.07 million tonnes of meat in the January-February period, down 33% from 1.6 million tonnes in the same months in the previous year.

The growth in domestic production is largely due to the rapid rebuilding of the country’s pig herd which was previously decimated by widespread outbreaks of African Swine Fever in 2018-19.

Domestic prices have since weakened, continuing the trend from late 2021, and Beijing has raised import tariffs on most pork products in 2022, after China reduced its needs for imports.

The sow herd in China stood at 42.9 million head at the end of January 2022, a rise of 2% on the previous year.

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