Tuesday, January 23, 2018

China Farm Output Up Marginally in 2017

China's agricultural output grew marginally, farming's share of the economy continued to shrink, and farm prices were down sharply for a number of commodities during 2017, according to agricultural production data released by the National Bureau of Statistics last week.

Value-added in agriculture, forestry, and fishing grew 4.1 percent during 2017, slower than China's overall GDP growth rate of 6.9 percent. The primary sector's share of GDP continued its decline, falling to 7.9 percent of GDP during 2017.

Investment in agriculture is growing rapidly, making up for years of neglect. According to the Bureau's investment data, fixed asset investment agriculture, forestry and fisheries grew 11.8 percent during 2017, faster than the 7.2-percent growth in total fixed asset investment and one of the fastest-growing sectors. However, agriculture still received just 3.9 percent of all China's fixed asset investment during 2017. (Investment by rural households is excluded from these figures, but rural households don't invest much in agriculture.) Fixed asset investment in primary processing of farm products (e.g., grain milling, vegetable oil processing, meat processing) grew 3.6 percent, and investment in food manufacturing grew just 1.7 percent.

China's grain output grew 0.3 percent during 2017 as a 1-percent rise in yield offset a 0.7-percent decline in area planted. Corn output was down 1.7 percent, while rice and wheat production each rose 0.7 percent. Output of soybeans surged 12.4 percent, and other beans were up 5.6 percent--reflecting the shift of land out of corn into alternative crops. The 14.6-million metric tons of soybeans produced was small in comparison with the volume of soybean imports (86 mmt for Jan-Nov 2017), and soybean imports grew even faster (15.8 percent) than soybean production. Cotton production rose 2.7 percent, reflecting growth in output in Xinjiang Autonomous Region and a sharp decline in central and eastern provinces. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 74.4 percent of China's cotton was produced in Xinjiang last year.

China's output of major crops, 2017
Item Unit
Change from prev. yr. (%)
Grain output MMT 617.9 0.3
Grain area planted Mil ha 112.2 -0.7
Grain yield MT/ha 5.5 1.0
Cotton output MMT 5.5 2.7
Cotton area planted Mil ha 3.2 -4.3
Cotton yield MT/ha 113.2 7.3
Corn output MMT 215.9 -1.7
Wheat output MMT 129.8 0.7
Rice output MMT 208.6 0.7
Soybean output MMT 14.6 12.4
Other beans MMT 4.6 5.4
Tuber output MMT 34.2 1.3
Vegetable output Mil Ha
Vegetable area MMT
Medicinal crops MMT

Production grew 1 percent or less for most types of livestock in China during 2017. The number of hogs slaughtered increased 0.5 percent from 2016 and pork output was up 0.8 percent. Poultry meat production was up .5 percent and egg output fell 0.8 percent. Beef cattle slaughter rose 1 percent and beef production increased 1.3 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

China livestock production, 2017
Livestock production Unit
2017 amount
Change 2016-17 (percent)
Hogs slaughtered Million 689 0.5
Pork MMT 53.4 0.8
Beef cattle slaughter Million 51.62 1.0
Beef MMT 7.26 1.3
Poultry slaughter Billion 12.41 0.3
Poultry meat MMT 18.97 0.5
Egg production MMT 30.7 -0.8

The National Bureau of Statistics reported that overall agricultural producer prices were up 3.5 percent, but the only major category showing price gains was forestry and fisheries (up 4.9 percent). Corn prices fell 2.9 percent and vegetable prices were down 4.4 percent (due to a warm winter that boosted production in north China during 2017). Hog prices fell 14 percent, egg prices were down 7.2 percent, and poultry prices were down 3.3 percent in 2017.
China agricultural producer prices (change, 2016-17)
All  3.5
Crops -0.5
  Corn -2.9
  Vegetables -4.4
Livestock -9.2
  Hogs -14.0
  Poultry -3.3
  Eggs -7.2
Forestry and Fisheries 4.9

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