A surge in sales to China raised the net profit of Brazilian meat processor JBS SA to 2.43 billion reals (about US$482.5 million) in the fourth quarter of last year, or 332 percent more than a year earlier, Reuters reports.

The news agency quotes JBS Chief Executive Gilberto Tomazoni as saying demand in China is likely to remain strong this year, as cities there ease lockdowns imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The report, citing the quarterly results of JBS, says the amount of beef the company sold to China in the fourth quarter was 61 percent greater than a year earlier, without giving the amount, and that the average price paid for the beef was 23 percent higher.

The amount of pork processed in the United States that JBS sold in China last year was 10 percent greater than the year before, Reuters says, again without giving the amount.