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AHDB European Market Survey

01 June 2012

AHDB European Market Survey - 1 June 2012AHDB European Market Survey - 1 June 2012

Japanese beef imports were largely unchanged in the first quarter 2012, down only one per cent on the year while the average import price in US dollars was up two per cent.


Japanese beef imports stable

Shipments from Australia and New Zealand were both down six per cent. In contrast, imports from the US and Canada were up 16 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

The overall fall in beef imports was driven by a five per cent fall in chilled/fresh shipments to 46,000 tonnes as frozen shipments were up one per cent to 68,000 tonnes. Demand for frozen beef, and also cheaper fresh cuts, has been supported by the domestic fast food and food service sectors. Fresh shipments from Australia were down 20 per cent, partly attributed to the strong Australian dollar. However, this fall was partly compensated for by a 43 per cent increase in chilled imports from the US. The price competitiveness of US beef compared with Australian product, resulting from a weaker US dollar, has contributed towards this growth in shipments.

Beef imports in 2012 as a whole are forecast to be up around two per cent on 2011 as demand for imported, grain fed beef is expected to continue to increase. In addition, Australia’s frozen, grass-fed cuts which are mainly utilised in the fast food sector and catering to low-price seeking consumers should continue to perform well.

Japanese beef production in the first two months of 2012 was up five per cent on the same period last year. As of the end of February 2012, beef stocks were up six per cent on February 2011. Total beef production is likely to be largely unchanged in 2012 compared with the previous year according to April 2012 forecasts from the USDA. Domestic beef consumption in January to February 2012 was up five per cent on the year. The USDA forecasts that consumption for 2012 as a whole is likely to increase by around one per cent.

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