Headwinds expected to impact Chinese pork, beef trade - GAIN

Beef imports to decline, pork to remain flat
calendar icon 5 September 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

The economy of China is expected to face headwinds for the remainder of 2023 that should continue into 2024 even though officials are exploring various stimulus efforts, a recent US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report said

The headwinds will impact consumption, production, and trade for both pork and beef. FAS China forecasts beef imports will decline in 2024 owing to flat demand and forecasts that pork imports for 2024 will remain relatively flat. Live cattle imports in 2024 are forecast to grow as Myanmar received official market access in July 2023.

Swine production in 2024 is forecast to decline by 1% year- on-year to 695 million head due to, on average, lower sow inventories in 2023. Live swine imports in 2024 are forecast to grow from 5,000 to 6,000 head with industry interest in herd expansion.

Pork production in 2024 is forecast to decline 1% to 55.95 million metric ton from lower slaughter and lower inventory of fattened swine. Producers are expected to continue managing potential animal disease outbreaks without significantly affecting overall production volumes. Pork imports in 2024 are expected to stay at similar levels as recorded in 2022 and 2023.

Calf production in 2024 is forecast to grow by less than 2% to 55.5 million head owing to marginal increases in the cow inventory in 2023. Cattle imports in 2024 are forecast to grow to 250 thousand head from the estimated 230 thousand head in 2023 owing partially to Myanmar’s new market access for beef cattle for slaughter. However, price pressure on domestic dairy and beef cattle is expected to curb interest by industry members to expand the livestock herd and could soften demand for imported cattle for breeding purposes.

Beef production in 2024 is expected to remain at historically high levels, but year-on-year growth may slow in response to economic conditions. Imports of beef for 2024 are forecast to decline to 3.32 million metric ton due to financial challenges facing importers, flat consumer demand, and higher production. Lower-priced grass- fed beef will continue to dominate the import market.

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