This growth surpassed the previous peaks seen in September 2011, and has been driven by falling domestic production and increased demand for pork by Chinese consumers.
Producers culled almost 100m hogs and 10m sows after the pork industry saw massive over-expansion from 2011-13—a period which also brought reduced profits—at a time which coincided with an increase in the price of maize, the the main feed grain in China.
The result of this action was responsible for a 6.5% drop in domestic pork production last year, to 53m tonnes.
Due to falling domestic production, Chinese pork imports have been growing, with those from the European Union in the first-quarter of this year totalling 286,100 tonnes—up 93% versus the same period last year. Further sharp increases have also been seen in imports from non-EU countries.
On May 5, the Beijing region released 3.05m kilos of frozen pork to the market with the aim of alleviating current high prices.