China produces roughly half of the world’s pork, generating 55 billion lb. per year since 2013, but the country has also become a leading exporter of pork over the past decade.
Domestic pork production contracted in 2015 and 2016 because of lower pig supplies, and a seven-year period of growth followed that drove prices below profitable levels. Imports soared during 2016 as China's shrinking pork supplies helped push the country’s pork prices to record levels.
This trend appears to be changing, however, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture said recent data show that imports have fallen about 52% from a year ago. The changes, USDA explained, reflect an ongoing recovery in China's domestic production.
Over the past year, data show that the country reduced its pork imports from all major exporting countries, including the U.S. (down 38.0%), Canada (down 51.6%), the European Union (down 56.3%) and Brazil (down 60.6%).
In addition, USDA said a dozen or more feed and livestock companies have announced aggressive expansion plans within China.
“With higher domestic hog and pork production, supplies in China appear more than adequate, as the prices for feeder pigs, pork and live hogs are all below the levels of a year ago,” USDA said.