US reduces beef market share in Japan

01 July 2015


Japan imported 42,154 tonnes swt of beef during May, up 3% from last year, with declined volumes from the US offset by an increase in Australian product. Imports from the US during January to May this year declined 9% year-on-year to 64,728 tonnes swt, reducing its share in the imported beef market to 32% (from 37% in 2014).

Besides high prices, domestic demand for US loin cuts may have further reduced supplies for Japan, according to the trade. Japan had imported 725 tonnes swt of US chilled loins in May 2014 at an average value of 1,480 yen/kg, however the volume only reached 287 tonnes swt this year, with the value increasing 25% to 1,844 yen/kg.


The average value of Australian chilled loins during the month was 1,452 yen/kg, up 11% from last year. Australia’s share in the market currently stands at 59% (up five percentage points).

While the increased share of Australian beef in the Japanese market is a positive sign, the year-to-date comparisons (see chart) also illustrates a growing frozen beef proportion at the expense of high value chilled beef products, possibly due to increasing global beef prices.

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