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American beef is served at a June 30 event in Beijing to celebrate the lifting of China's import ban.   © Reuters

That rumbling you hear is China's hunger for beef

Surging demand a boon for Brazilian and US exporters, but spooks Japanese buyers

MASASHI IJICHI, Nikkei staff writer | China

TOKYO -- China's swelling appetite for beef is having a global impact, with Brazilian and U.S. exporters benefiting from the lifting of import bans, and Japanese and Southeast Asian buyers bracing for higher prices amid competition with Chinese rivals.

Rising incomes are driving the stronger Chinese demand for beef, which is more expensive than pork. The growth is so fast -- one forecast sees consumption surging some 20% between 2017 and 2025 -- that local producers are unable to keep up. Beijing has responded by lifting import bans on Brazil and the U.S.

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