Chinese Imports of Corn, Sorghum and Pork Surge to Kick off 2020

Posted on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 10:04

Chinese imports of corn surged 64.7% from year-ago levels to 930,000 MT for the first two months of the year, according to data from its General Administration of Customs. Its sorghum imports during January and February also surged from negligible levels last year to 300,000 MT, with much of that business likely coming from the U.S. China no longer provides information about the origin of the imports. The big year-over-year jumps were impressive considering they came amid an outbreak of coronavirus.

On the other hand, its imports of barley slipped 50.9% to 740,000 MT, and its wheat imports dipped 8.9% to 680,000 MT during the January through February timeframe.

China’s pork imports the first two months of the year surged 158% from year-ago to 560,000 MT. This follows a monthly import record of 270,000 MT in December.

Some of Beijing’s aggressive purchases will likely be used to replenish state reserves, as the country has sold 370,000 MT of pork from its reserves since December to ensure adequate pork supplies in the wake of an African swine fever outbreak and to tame inflation.

Also of note, China’s WH Group Ltd., the world’s largest pork processor, said during a conference call that coronavirus had little impact on pork production, adding that 95% of factories at its subsidiary pork processor are back to normal operation levels.

The company also indicated that it will likely need to increase imports of pork from the U.S. due to insufficient supplies within the country. It pointed out that the wide price spread between U.S. and Chinese pork points to continued growth in pork imports.