China’s pork imports are likely to hit a record this year, but the surge will have limited influence on surging prices, analysts said.

«China imported about 400,000 tons of pork and pork offal in the first five months of this year, up 43 percent year-on-year, and imports will probably hit a record 1 million tons this year,» said Ma Chuang, deputy secretary-general of the China Animal Agriculture Association.

An earlier report from the Netherlands-based Rabobank Group indicated that the potential gap between pork supply and demand would be between 2 and 2.5 million tons in 2012. The import volume of pork and pork offal will be 1.1 to 1.4 million tons this year, which will be between 25 percent and 60 percent higher than 2010’s figure.

China’s pork prices, a key driver of inflation, rose 0.7 percent in the week ending Sept 11 from the previous week, hitting a new record, data from the Ministry of Commerce. It was the fifth consecutive weekly rise in pork prices.

«The imports of pork and pork offal will not have an actual influence on surging domestic prices because imports only account for a very small share of China’s huge pork consumption, and it is not practical to turn to imports to curb the price,» said Huang Guiheng, a manager in the research department of Bric Global Agricultural Consultant Ltd, a domestic market research firm.

The price of pork will continue to be high in the foreseeable future owing to the rising cost of labor, corn and feed and the risks inherent in the industry, such as stock mortality. Huang said prices will begin to decline «around the second quarter of next year, with supplies increasing from July onwards».

Source: ChinaDaily