China remains world's leading consumer of beef

24 Jul 2020

Over the first two months of this year, the total volume of China's beef imports from minor sources was 11,457 tonnes, 82% higher than the volume reported in the same period last year. Ireland and the US were the top two minor countries to ship beef to China, followed by Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Panama, Namibia and Hungary.

China could increase beef imports to 2.2 million tonnes this year to cover shortage on its markets, analysts say.

In 2019, China increased its beef consumption by 11% to reach 8.33 million tonnes, with per capita consumption jumping from 4.88 kg in 2016 to 5.95 kg in 2019. Statistical data shows that beef output increased by 4% last year, reaching a total volume of 6.67 million tonnes, leaving room for beef import volumes of 1.66 million tonnes. That represents an increase of 60% in beef imports compared to 2018 and the trend is expected to continue this year as a pig meat shortage in the Chinese market because of the ASF crisis is pushing consumers to find alternatives for pork.

For 2020, analysts are expecting a total volume of beef imports of 2.2 million tonnes to cover the demand in the Chinese market. Even with a high impact reported in the market because of the lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak, China imported 300,000 tonnes of beef in January and February, according to data presented by Beef to China.