Chinese whey imports suggest pig herd rebuilding

17 September 2020, at 1:00am

The impact of African swine fever (ASF) on the Chinese pig herd has been widely reported. As China rebuilds its herd, it can be difficult to get reliable numbers on the rate of growth. However, whey product imports can give us a good indication.

When the pig herd reduced, the resultant impact on China’s demand for whey products was evident. Imports fell from around 51k tonnes per month in the summer of 2018 to just 33k tonnes per month the following year. Over the last 3 months (May to July), those imports have averaged 57.6k tonnes.

In July 2020, China recorded its highest level of whey product imports for at least ten year, at 63.9k tonnes. That is a 63% uplift since April, and 64% higher than whey imports in July last year.