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China meat imports drop 9% in August 2021

China has imported 758,000 tonnes of meat in August, down 8.9% from the same period in 2020 according to customs data released on 7 September.

7 September 2021, at 7:32am

Reuters reports that the poor import figures are down to low domestic demand and weak Chinese pork prices.

China has imported 6.69 million tonnes of meat for the first eight months of the year, up 1.7% on last year's volumes, according to the General Administration of Customs.

August imports were also lower than July's figure of 854,000 tonnes.

Domestic pork prices have plunged this year, after production surged on efforts to restock and expand farms following an African swine fever epidemic that decimated herds during 2018 and 2019.

With small farmers losing an average 665 yuan ($103.04) per hog during June, according to agriculture ministry data, the government stepped in to prop up prices, buying up pork for its reserves.

China's hog margins have plummeted since the start of the year and stayed at low levels on tumbling pork prices. Margins in Sichuan, a top producer in China, were at negative 200 yuan

Prices slumped again last month, however, and are currently at 18.7 yuan per kilogramme, less than half what they were a year ago.

Beijing said on 6 September that several provinces have made new purchases for reserves while others are planning to buy pork in the coming months to further support producers.

($1 = 6.4541 Chinese yuan).

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