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China Meat Imports Hit Record as Pork Prices Jump on pig fever



(Bloomberg) – China, the world's leading pork producer, imported a record amount of meat in May with an attempt to mitigate the impact of African swine fever as the domestic price of pork.

China bought 556,276 tons of meat and offal in May, up about 45% from the previous year, according to official customs data published on Sunday. It brings the total imports into the first five months to 2.2 million tons, an increase of 23% over last year.

Imports of pork increased most in the meat, which rose 63% to 187,459 tonnes in May from the year before. Lamb transport increased 53% to 42,036 tonnes, while imports of beef increased 41% to 123,720 tonnes. Frozen chicken purchases increased by 26% to 63,430 tons, showed customs data.

Imports are unlikely to fall in spite of limited refrigeration in China's largest ports, says Pan Chenjun, a livestock analyst at Rabobank in Hong Kong.

For Chinese domestic pork, chicken, vegetables and fruit prices, please search ALLX CNPO.

Still, import growth for the full year is likely to be limited as China disappears US supplies due to trade spit between the two countries, said Jim Huang, CEO of China-data.com.cn, an agricultural industry consultant.

"There won't be enough meat elsewhere in China," Huang said. Pig prices in some areas of the country have recently picked up despite low seasonal demand, suggesting that tight supplies are threatening, Huang says. Wholesale pork spot prices were 21.55 yuan a kilo on June 14, an increase of 12% from the same period last year.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Niu Shuping in Beijing at nshuping@bloomberg.net

To Contact the editors responsible for this story: Anna Kitanaka at akitanaka@bloomberg.net, Ben Sharples

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