China's pork prices fall, demand for imports remains high
Since January this year, pork wholesale prices have dropped continuously in the Chinese market reaching $4.86/kilo last week. However, demand for pork imports is expected to remain elevated, despite large supplies that have been put on the market in the last couple of months. "The market for pig meat appears to be well supplied at the moment, although market reports indicate Chinese importers are keen to secure volume at the moment. So, whether wholesale prices soften further is uncertain," commented Duncan Wyatt, Lead Analyst for Red meat, AHDB.
The Chinese pig inventory has also been reduced, according to official data released in April. Pig numbers are just below 250 million head, a level similar to the one reported in August last year. Sow numbers are also down (25 million head) due to the impact of ASF outbreaks reported in the last couple of months in the country.
"Progress in rebuilding the Chinese pig herd has taken a slight turn for the worse. It may take some time for these lower pig numbers to feed through to wholesale market balances. Indeed the current de-stocking may in fact be supporting pork supplies in the short term," added Mr. Wyatt.
Major suppliers such as JBS and Danish Crown have expressed their confidence that demand for pork in the Chinese market is not going to drop this year, while WH Group, the largest meat producer in China is taking a different approach and while expecting pork imports to remain elevated it also looks to import more poultry.
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