China is expected to import 250,000 metric tons of broiler in 2013, 4.2 percent more than the 240,000 tons in 2012 and 5.0 percent above the 238,000 tons in 2011, according to the recent GAIN report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)  office in Beijing.     Of the total imports of 250,000 tons next year, FAS  forecasts 45,000 tons or 18.0 percent will be from the United States.  In 2012, 37,000 tons of broilers will likely be from the United States, up 54 percent from FAS’ previous estimate earlier this year.  In 2011, China imported a total of 238,000 tons of broilers of which 30,000 tons or 12.6 percent were from the United States.

FAS also reported that China will likely export 400,000 tons of broilers in 2013, the same quantity as estimated for this year, but 5.4 percent less than the 423,000 tons in 2011.  FAS said that when China implemented its anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing (CV) measures against U.S. broilers in 2010, export unit prices from South American countries climbed sharply in 2011, for instance, Brazil by 24 percent, Argentina 9 percent, and Chile 31 percent.  With higher prices offered by South American countries, some U.S. prices are competitive, and some Chinese traders are willing to pay the AD and CV tariffs to bring in higher quality U.S. broiler meats.

Regarding broiler consumption, FAS estimated the 2012 level at 10 kilograms (22 pounds) per person on average.  Total broiler consumption for 2013 is forecast at 13.950 million tons, 3.0 percent ahead of the 13.540 tons estimated for 2012 and 7.2 percent above the 13.015 tons in 2011.  Chinese consumers began to purchase more broiler meat than red meats in July and August when prices for broiler meat were $2,657 per ton compared with the average pork price of $3,616 per ton. The significant price difference prompted low-income consumers to shift to less costly broiler meat. Overall, consumers are becoming more price-sensitive as China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate dropped from 9.2 percent in 2011 to 7.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012. This is the first time China’s GDP growth rate dropped below 8 percent in the last 12 quarters, the report noted. FAS’ GAIN report for Chinese poultry is available here.