Tongue prices reach 10-year high

18 August 2016

As reported in the latest MLA Co-products report, swiss cut tongue prices reached levels not seen since March 2006, averaging $20/kg ex-works – more than double the same time last year. The rise in prices was driven by a decline in Australian cattle slaughter and strong demand from Japan’s Yakiniku sector (tabletop barbeque where tongue is most utilised).

In July, 81% of Australian beef tongue shipments were destined for Japan, at 656 tonnes swt, down 28% year-on-year.

Over the past few years, wholesale tongue prices in Japan have reflected the tight supplies in the US and, more recently, Australia. This has seen the premium for US tongue over Australian product narrow. During 2014, US tongue wholesale prices commanded a 30% premium which contracted to 27% during 2015, and currently sits at 15% for 2016-to-date.

Tongue shipments to Indonesia more than doubled year-on-year following changes to import policy regulations, accounting for 18% of tongue shipments (148 tonnes swt) during July.

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