Chinese pig prices strengthen

Thursday, 15 September 2022

After showing tentative rises through early April, Chinese pork prices picked up pace through the spring and into summer. This growth has been reportedly spurred by tighter pig supplies, partly as producers held back pigs, and partly from stronger consumer demand. According to government reports, authorities are encouraging producers to maintain production and releasing stocks in an attempt to curb price inflation.

Chart showing weekly Chinese wholesale meat prices

The Chinese government recently announced that pork bought into storage would be released onto the market from September in time for heightened demand from autumn festivals. Demand continues to be affected by the uncertain COVID-19 situation, with restrictions still in place across parts of the country.

Chart showing weekly Chinese live pig prices

Chinese pig production increased during the first half of 2022, with slaughtering up 8% versus the same period a year ago. Profitability had been challenged during this time, but the recent price rises have reportedly improved the situation for producers. Indeed, government data shows the breeding sow inventory has been increasing month-on-month since May.

Chart showing quarterly Chinese pig meat import volumes to Q2 2022

Meanwhile, China’s pig meat import volumes during the second quarter were much lower than in previous years, although in line with the level recorded in quarter one. For the first half of the year, imports were down 64% compared to the same period in 2021 at 799,000 tonnes (-68% from EU). All main suppliers to China have sent less, Spain in particular. Imports are expected to improve somewhat in the second half of the year, as consumer demand improves, and higher domestic prices encourage imports. However, import demand is expected to stay significantly lower than 2021.

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