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Beef Import Values Increase in Japan

02 December 2015
Meat & Livestock Australia

JAPAN - Beef imports in Japan registered a reduction in volume this year compared to last year, largely due to the fall in US shipments, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) have reported.

However, MLA reported that Japanese beef imports showed a significant increase in value, proving the market’s ability to keep up with global beef prices despite its slow economic growth.

Imports from US remain subdued

Beef intake from the US during October declined 30 per cent year-on-year to 13,319 tonnes swt, with a large fall in frozen beef volumes – down 44 per cent to 6,190 tonnes swt (shipping weight - Ministry of Finance, Japan).

Import volumes and average values of brisket/shortplate in both chilled and frozen categories eased significantly, as there have reportedly been high inventories of these products in the market.

Year-to-date volumes from the US amounted 136,736 tonnes swt (down 16 per cent from last year), valued at 99.5 million yen (down 2 per cent), with the market share also declining to 33 per cent, from 37 per cent in 2014 (both in volume terms).

Australia’s share now 59 per cent

Year-to-date import volumes from Australia were steady year-on-year, at 241,361 tonnes swt (up 1 per cent), but increased 27 per cent in value, at 126.3 million yen. Australia’s market share, as of October 2015, stands at 59 per cent (54 per cent in 2014).

Total value up 13 per cent for year-to-date

In total, beef shipments to Japan for the first 10 months of 2015 totalled 412,365 tonnes swt, 7 per cent below last year, but the total value of the trade has in fact increased by 13 per cent, to 283 billion yen (A$ 3.27billion).

Other key suppliers to the market include New Zealand (year-to-date volume down 31 per cent year-on-year, to 14,683 tonnes swt), Mexico (up 27 per cent, to 10,475 tonnes swt), and Canada (down 37 per cent, to 7,761 tonnes swt).

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