Chinese beef imports rise so far in 2022

Friday, 9 December 2022

In the year to date (Jan-Sep), China imported 1.94 million tonnes of fresh and frozen beef. This is an increase of 205,400 tonnes (12%) on the same period last year.

Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, New Zealand and Australia, the top 5 suppliers of fresh and frozen beef to China, accounted for 86.9% (1.69 million tonnes) of the total imports. Over the last four years, imports have been increasing from the rest of the world, driven particularly by the US.

Frozen beef accounted for just over 96% of Chinese beef imports between Jan-Sep 2022, holding relatively stable at this level over the last 4 years.

While pork remains the staple meat among Chinese consumers, beef demand is forecast to grow. Pressures from African Swine Fever coupled with an increase in higher-income households within the Chinese population have likely supported demand for beef. This is especially true in retail, as ready-to-cook beef products become more widely available. However overall, domestic beef demand growth has been slow. The reopening of foodservice, plus supply chain disruption due to COVID-19, will have offered support to imports. However, the foodservice sector has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels, and the wider economy continues to be affected by zero-COVID policies.

While domestic consumption of beef is forecast to grow, production is also expected to increase in the medium term. The rate at which these two factors grow will of course influence the rate of change in imports; currently industry reports expect China to import slightly less in 2023 vs 2022, but imports are expected to remain in growth longer-term. How COVID-19 continues to be managed in the country, and the knock-on impacts on the economy will be key to watch.


Sign up for regular updates

You can subscribe to receive Beef and Lamb market news straight to your inbox. Simply fill in your contact details on our online form.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.