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China Meat Imports Decline in May, as Domestic Pork Production Increases and Corn Imports from the U.S. Rise

Reuters News reported this week that, “China imported 789,000 tonnes of meat in May, down 3.3% from the same month a year earlier, customs data showed on Monday, after a plunge in domestic pork prices dented appetite for imports.

“The imports were down sharply from the prior month’s 922,000 tonnes, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed. May’s arrivals were also the smallest since November 2020 when China brought in 775,000 tonnes.

“China’s output of pork has plunged following outbreaks of the deadly African swine fever since 2018, spurring strong demand for imports of pork and other meat.”

The Reuters article indicated that,

But domestic production has significantly increased this year following intensive efforts to restock and expand farms during 2020.

Also this week, Reuters writers Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton reported that, “China’s state planner said on Wednesday it plans to boost the role of state reserves in stabilising hog production and pork prices, after a more than 50% plunge in pork and hog prices since the beginning of the year.

“China’s pork industry is recovering from an outbreak of the deadly African swine fever virus that devastated the hog herd during 2018 and 2019, but prices this year have fallen far more steeply than expected, analysts said.”

The Reuters writers explained that, “The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement it plans to improve the way its pork reserves operate to help stabilise hog production and pork prices.”

In related news regarding corn demand, Reuters columnist Karen Braun pointed out in a tweet this week that U.S. corn exports to China were at a record high level in April.

Meanwhile, Reuters writers Naveen Thukral and Rajendra Jadhav reported this week that, “India has stepped up corn exports as a rally in global prices to their highest since 2013 has made shipments from the South Asian country competitive, easing concerns about rising food inflation in Southeast Asia.

“Indian exporters have signed deals to sell around 400,000 tonnes of corn for shipment in June to July to animal feed producers in Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, according to two Singapore-based feed grain traders.

“Cheaper corn supplies from India would keep the cost of animal feed lower for consumers of meat and chicken in Asia, who are among the most vulnerable to high food prices.”

“Crop Progress and Condition: Corn in the United States). USDA- National Agricultural Statistics Service (June 7, 2021-

The Reuters article noted that, “The health of the U.S. corn crop, the world’s biggest, is also being questioned amid hot and dry weather. Chicago corn futures have climbed more than 40% in 2021 as deteriorating U.S. crop conditions support prices.”

Also this week, Financial Times writer Thomas Hale reported that, “The price of goods leaving China’s factories has risen at its fastest pace since the financial crisis, piling pressure on policymakers as they grapple with the effects of a global commodity price rally.

“China’s producer price index added 9 per cent in May, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday, its biggest year-on-year increase since September 2008 and higher than economists’ forecasts.”

The FT article added that, “The Chinese government’s economic planning agency last month warned of ‘excessive speculation’ in commodity markets and said it would crack down on monopolies and false information.”

“China Is Trying to Tame Inflation. It Matters to Much of the Globe,” by Keith Bradsher. The New York Times (June 8, 2021).

And New York Times writer Keith Bradsher reported this week that, “It’s far from certain that the current bout of global inflation will last. Many economists believe price increases will moderate once companies clear supply bottlenecks caused by factory closings and other measures taken during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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