Japan beef consumption slows in May

16 July 2015

Lower than anticipated beef consumption in Japan during May resulted in high inventories, according to supply and demand data by Japan’s Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation (ALIC).

While the market’s foodservice and supermarket sectors reported steady overall sales during the month, both imported and Japanese domestic beef consumption were somewhat weak, registering a year-on-year decline of 12% (to 37,440 tonnes, product weight) and 14% (to 24,702 tonnes), respectively.

As a result, imported beef stocks as of May totalled 130,870 tonnes, up 41% from the previous year and the highest volume on record, with frozen inventory accounting for 93% of total amount.

This situation had an impact on Japanese buyers’ interest in Australian frozen beef, with June exports declining 7% from 2014 levels, to 14,057 tonnes swt. A recovery in demand is yet to be seen, as of 13 July, with Australian frozen beef shipments to Japan totalling 6,242 tonnes swt so far during the month, or 41% of the July 2014 total (DA).

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