Brazilian pork exporters are facing a tight situation following the fall in shipments to China, which seems to have recovered the hog herd faster than expected, following the outbreak of African Swine Fever, ASF, a couple of years ago.
Brazil depends mostly from the Chinese pork market but in March purchases were 42% less than a year ago. The volume shipped was 34,1 thousand tons against 91,4 thousand in March 2021.
China's imports from all sources fell by 64% in the first three months of 2022, some 420,000 tons when compared to the same period last year, according to data released by Beijing's General Customs Administration.
“China would eventually return to its normal production level… The government gave assistance, and they resumed production earlier than expected,” admitted Ricard Santin, the president of the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA).
According to government data, China produced 15,61 million tons of pork in the first three months of 2022, up 14% from a year earlier, the country’s top quarterly pork production in more than three years.
Despite the drop in export volumes to China in March, the president of the ABPA (an entity that represents meatpackers such as JBS and BRF) assesses that “the worst part of the problem” is behind us.
Santin argued that first quarter numbers also show a higher slaughter of animals in China, with farmers attempting to reduce higher feed costs, among other factors, which has meant more pork on the market.
Likewise Brazilian pork shipments reached 237,500 tons in the first quarter of this year, 6.3% lower than that recorded in the same period in 2021, according to the ABPA. Lobbyists in Brazil also admit that rising costs are shaving profit margins because of some failed summer crops ant the war in Ukraine.