What to expect in the Chinese meat market this year
The Chinese meat market is reshaping very fast and for this year it is expected to put more accent for beef and cattle imports, while pig and live pig imports are expected to drop significantly, a recent USDA analysis revealed.
The 2022 pork import estimate is lowered to 3.3 MMT due to competition from low-priced domestic pork, a pork import tariff increase (from 8 to 12 percent), less optimistic economic outlook, and continued COVID-19 related restrictions and market disruptions. For 2022, China's pork production is estimated to reach 50 million tons, a 5% increase over 2021, due to higher hog production and higher slaughter levels. Large producers are continuing to expand their market share of pork production, the report stated.
Imports of live breeding swine in 2022 are estimated lower at 20,000 head as producers clear through 2021 supply levels. Low hog and piglet prices that continued into 2022 are expected to lower demand for imported breeding swine.
The hog production estimate for 2022 is 665 million head, a 2% increase over 2021 driven by high beginning stocks and more efficient sows. Producers’ losses as well as government policies designed to stabilize the swine herd are expected to temper production and swine sector volatility in 2022. Also, since last autumn, pig producers in China have been requested by the government to keep the sow herd at least at 41 million head, according to the Interim Implementation Plan to Manage Swine Production Capacity. his plan aims to stabilize the swine sector from dramatic fluctuations by providing production targets. The plan requires the national sow inventory to be maintained at 41 million and specifies a “normal” inventory target for each province/area that should not fluctuate more than 5%.
In 2022, hog losses from animal diseases are expected to fall but ASF is expected to remain endemic. In October 2021, the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) identified a less virulent new strain of ASF. This strain appears to be less fatal to hog, sow, and piglet populations.