Chinese beef imports will double by 2018

A new report from Rabobank projects China will double beef imports by 2018. Rabobank’s Beijing-based analyst Pan Chenjun says imports may exceed 500,000 metric tonnes as domestic production will fall short of meeting growing demand. She says consumption of processed pork products will increase 10 percent during the period.

Pan tells the Sydney Morning Herald that growing demand may help the U.S. convince China to drop its ban on U.S. beef which has been in place since the first BSE case in 2003. Just-concluded negotiations indicate that may happen by July, 2014. One note of interest in all of this, Smithfield Foods is now owned by Hong Kong-based Shuanghui International. China is also considering lifting a ban on Brazilian beef.

As the Chinese economy grows, spending on meat products is forecast to gain more than 10 per cent a year in the next five years, out pacing a 2 per cent annual increase in volumes, indicating people are buying more expensive products, Pan said.

Consumption of processed pork products should increase 10 percent over the period, while China produces almost all its pork, Rabobank says it will need to import more corn and soybeans to feed the herds.

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