Japan Beef Demand Set to Rise

JAPAN - Demand for beef in Japan is expected to start gradually recovering in 2012, following a very tough 2011, with increased US beef imports facilitating a forecast rise in consumption.
calendar icon 27 January 2012
clock icon 1 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

The Japanese trade media Chikusan Nippo and Shokuniku Sokuho both issued their market projections recently, with each outlet forecasting a 5-10 per cent growth in total beef imports for 2012, reports Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).

Under the assumption that there will be changes to the US beef import protocols (from the current less than 21 months age restriction, to less than 30 months) during the middle of the year, US beef imports are predicted to reach 160,000 tonnes swt. This would be an increase of 35 per cent on 2011’s 118,300 tonnes swt (estimate). Imports of Australian beef for 2012 have been forecast to be steady, to slightly lower on 2011, with the strong A$ and increased competition from the US impacting demand.

Japanese beef production in 2012 is forecast to be two per cent lower than last year, at around 340,000 tonnes (boneless equivalent). Along with tight consumer spending in recent years, 2011’s nuclear contamination issues and subsequent decline in demand are expected to continue challenging the Japanese. However, the market’s economic improvement and consumers’ confidence in the safety of beef will most likely to hold the key to the final consumption levels in 2012.

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