(08 July 2021) China’s outbreak of African swine fever back in 2018-2019 hurt domestic pig meat production and provided opportunities for meat* producers around the world to increase exports of pork and other meat to supplement China's diminished domestic supply. The US, the EU, and Brazil have benefited the most from the growing Chinese imports of meat, but some smaller meat exporters that had not traded meat to China before, like Russia and Belarus, also increased their meat exports.

  • The swine fever outbreak wiped out 28% of China's hog population; pork production in China declined by 15 million tons in 2018-2020, which is equivalent of 17% of the country's domestic meat consumption. From 2018 to 2020, producer prices for pig meat in China increased by 52%.
  • China's meat imports have increased by 2.8 times, from 3 million tons in 2018 to 8.3 million tons in 2020, according to UN Comtrade. The EU, Brazil, and the US increased shipments to China by more than one million tons each during 2018-2020, supplying over 70% of the new demand from China.
  • Increased meat imports and domestic supply of other meat categories have not fully compensated for the decrease in China's domestic pig meat production. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development expects that the the country's meat consumption and production levels will not recover before 2024.

Note: Meat includes beef, pork, poultry and sheep meat.

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