Monday, January 18, 2021

China Pork Output Lags Inventory Rebound

China's swine inventory has recovered to near-normal levels, but supplies of pork are lagging, according to preliminary 2020 data released by the country's National Bureau of Statistics

The inventory of swine at the end of 2020 was 406.5 million head, up 31 percent from 2019 and not far from the average since 2000. The number of hogs slaughtered during 2020 was 527 million, down 3.2 percent from 2019 and still far below the 694 million slaughtered in 2018. The slaughter number was China's smallest since the year 2000.

Source: data from China National Bureau of Statistics.
Quarterly swine inventory estimates show a relatively modest dip of about 25 percent from Q4 2018 to the low point in Q3 2019. That's a much smaller drop than the 40-plus percent reported by China's ag ministry. The Q4 2020 inventory reported by the Statistics Bureau is not far off the pre-African swine fever level. 

Source: China National Bureau of Statistics data.

Quarterly data indicate that the recovery of pork output began in Q3 and Q4 of 2020. Slaughter in Q1 2020 was about 40 percent below "normal" output from previous years for the first quarter. That was partly due to scarcity of pigs but also due to closure of roads and slaughterhouses during China Q1 2020 covid lockdown that prevented hogs from reaching markets. Supplies surged in Q2 as corpulent hogs fed 1-2 months longer than usual came on the market in April and May. Q3 2020 pork output clearly exceeded year-earlier volumes--although it still fell short of Q3 2017 and 2018 supplies. In Q4 2020 pork output again was ahead of Q4 2019 output, but it still fell 21 percent short of Q4 2017 and 2018 output.
Source: Calculations based on China National Bureau of Statistics data.

The number of hogs slaughtered by "designated" slaughterhouses (reported by the ag ministry) shows a strong recovery from August to December 2020. The December slaughter number was 10 percent below the 2018 volume. (This statistic is usually about a third of national slaughter volume reported by the statistics bureau.)
Source: China Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

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