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Chinese Red Meat Imports Surge in January

05 March 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

CHINA - China imported a record volume of beef during January, surging 812 per cent year-on-year, to 18,489 tonnes swt Meat and Livestock Australia reports from the Global Trade Atlas, China Customs.

While the majority (97 per cent) was frozen product, at 17,896 tonnes swt, the proportion of chilled beef increased to three per cent during January (593 tonnes swt) from just 0.4 per cent in January 2012.

China also imported a record volume of sheepmeat during the month, reaching 22,253 tonnes swt (up 243 per cent year-on-year).

Beef imports from Australia surged to 8,964 tonnes swt during January - four per cent higher than the record Chinese monthly imports from Australia set in November 2012 (8,660 tonnes swt). Australia has dominated the chilled beef supply to China, with imports during January climbing to 592 tonnes swt.

Frozen beef imports from Australia during January also jumped to 8,372 tonnes swt, from only 514 tonnes swt in January last year. While beef from Australia made up 48 per cent of the overall Chinese imported beef intake during January, volumes from Uruguay and New Zealand also increased.

Uruguay was the second largest supplier during January, rising 699 per cent year-on-year, to 4,716 tonnes swt, with the volume from New Zealand totalling 2,983 tonnes swt - up from 265 tonnes swt in 2012.

Sheepmeat imports from New Zealand during January increased almost four-fold on January last year, to 12,527 tonnes swt, with volumes from Australia increasing 186 per cent year-on-year, to 9,295 tonnes swt.

Chinese boneless beef retail prices consistently increased during 2012. Carrying this momentum, beef retail prices in January 2013 hit an all-time high, averaging at RMB55.71/kg (A$8.60), up six per cent on the past month and 33 per cent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China.

Bone-in sheepmeat retail prices also reached record levels, at RMB59.78/kg (A$9.25), up four per cent on December last year and 20 per cent year-on-year. Average boneless pork retail prices for January rose 6 per cent on the previous month, to RMB26.50/kg (A$4.10), but remained five per cent lower year-on-year.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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