Japan, South Korea Counter Weaker Chinese Pork Imports
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Japan, South Korea Counter Weaker Chinese Pork Imports

Posted by | August 17, 2017 |

JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA & CHINA – Both Japan and South Korea have reported year-on-year increases in fresh/frozen pork imports during the first half of 2017, according to Bethan Wilkins, AHDB Pork analyst. 

With Chinese import demand slowing in the second quarter, these destinations have become increasingly important outlets for the global pork market.

During the first six months of 2017, Japan imported 459,000 tonnes of pork, 7 per cent more than in the same period last year. Shipments from Canada in particular were 19 per cent higher year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the other key suppliers, the EU and US, saw more modest increases of 3 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

The expansion in EU shipments was largely driven by increasing imports from Spain in the second quarter. Conversely, US shipments actually fell 1 per cent on the year in Q2.

For South Korea, fresh/frozen pork imports increased 12 per cent on 2016 during the first half of the year, reaching 257,000 tonnes.

Disease outbreaks in both the beef and poultry sectors have reportedly boosted demand for pig meat this year.

EU shipments, which were up 25 per cent year-on-year and now provide over half of import requirements, drove the overall expansion.

Within this, volumes from Germany and the Netherlands were up 46 per cent and 58 per cent respectively.

The sharp increase in German shipments in particular is likely related to the temporary suspension of exports to China from a number of key plants earlier this year.

The UK also supplies pig meat to South Korea, albeit in small volumes (1,600 tonnes), but shipments were nonetheless 50 per cent higher than a year earlier.


Looking forwards, Chinese import demand is could remain behind 2016 levels in the latter half of the year.

Reports suggest there are expectations extensive farm closures could occur during Q3 under environmental regulations, leading to a temporary oversupply of pork on the market.

As such, how Japanese and South Korean import demand develops throughout the rest of 2017 could be key to global market balance.

Nonetheless, the outlook for South Korean demand at least seems positive, with pork likely to continue benefitting from disease pressures in the other protein sectors.

Source: The Pig Site. Date: 2017-08-17