Spain, world's leading pork exporter to China

Pork exports from Spain to China amounted to $561.4 million (€506.1 million) in the first seven months of 2019. Spain is becoming the world’s leading exporter of pork and pig offal to China.

Exportación porcino a China

According to data from the Chinese Customs, during the first seven months of 2019, Spanish exports are 65% higher than during the same period last year, surpassing already, between January and July, all pork exports in 2018, when the Spanish sector exported a volume of 332,200 tons worth €487.5 million.

In 2018, Spain was the second largest exporter of pork to China, behind Germany and ahead of Brazil, Canada and the Netherlands. If the trend of the first seven months of 2019 continues, Spain could close the year with an export of around $1 billion.

Considering these figures, Spain becomes the first supplier of pork and pig offal until July, ahead of Germany, which in the same period sold to the Asian giant pig meat worth $495.5 million.

What's happening in China?

Drop in China's production, due to the African Swine Fever, firstly explains the evolution in sales; the outbreak has led to a fall in the number of animals due to compulsory culling. The withdrawal in sector investment because of the uncertainty of the disease evolution, together with an unclear policy regarding eradication measures, must be taken into account as well.

Last spring, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs estimated that the number of breeding sows had fallen by 21% and, last August, the estimate had already reached 27%, suggesting that the production recovery is still a long way off.

Besides that, the trade war with the US has hindered bilateral trade. In addition, China totally banned imports of Canadian meat following a scandal over the falsification of health certificates.

According to the information provided by the Spanish Embassy in Beijing, pork prices in the Chinese market have been rising slowly but progressively throughout the first half of this year, accelerating the rise during the month of August.

In March, prices were around 19 RMB/kg (2.41 €/kg), rising to 25 RMB/kg (3.17 €/kg) at the beginning of August and 36.4 RMB/kg (4.62 /kg) at the end of last month, the highest level in its history.

The Spanish swine sector

Spain consolidates its position as the world’s fourth largest pork producer, with a world share of 3.83%, behind China (48.1%), US (10.5%) and Germany (4.9%).

The leading sector in the Spanish meat industry, in 2018, it registered a new production record of more than 4.5 million tons (+5.2%).

Spain also ranks third in the world in terms of pork exports, behind US and Germany. In 2018, 2.3 million tons were exported worth near €6 billion; 67% of these exports went to the EU.

Source:  Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación