Beef import values increase in Japan

30 November 2015

Beef imports in Japan registered a reduction in volume this year compared to last year – largely due to the fall in US shipments – but 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% year-on-year to 13,319 tonnes swt, with a large fall in frozen beef volumes – down 44% to 6,190 tonnes swt (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% from last year), valued at 99.5 million yen (down 2%), with the market share also declining to 33%, from 37% in 2014 (both in volume terms).

Australia’s share now 59%

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

Total value up 13% for year-to-date

In total, beef shipments to Japan for the first 10 months of 2015 totalled 412,365 tonnes swt, 7% below last year, but the total value of the trade has in fact increased by 13%, to 283 billion yen (A$ 3.27billion). Other key suppliers to the market include New Zealand (year-to-date volume down 31% year-on-year, to 14,683 tonnes swt), Mexico (up 27%, to 10,475 tonnes swt), and Canada (down 37%, to 7,761 tonnes swt).

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