Value of US Beef to Japan Rises

JAPAN - Japan imported 50,303 tonnes swt of beef in July, with shipments from the US increasing in both volume (up 18 per cent year-on-year) and value (up 38 per cent), according to data released by Japan’s Ministry of Finance.
calendar icon 6 September 2012
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Meat & Livestock Australia

Meat and Livestock Australia reported that imports from the US during July reached 14,867 tonnes swt, the highest monthly result since the resumption of trade in July 2006. US chilled beef volumes for July jumped 25 per cent on last year to 7,408 tonnes swt (also the record high since the resumption), with the value surging by 45 per cent year-on-year.

Along with the larger volume, the lift in value for July was largely influenced by higher prices from the US, while the US$ during June and July depreciated slightly against the Japanese yen.

Japan's intake of beef from Australia was similar to July 2011 (up one per cent at 29,670 tonnes swt), with improved volume of chilled beef (14 per cent higher at 12,431 tonnes) partially assisted by the higher US prices.

Volumes from New Zealand, Mexico and Canada all declined year-on-year, totalling 3,177 tonnes swt, 1,650 tonnes swt, and 877 tonnes swt, respectively.

Howeever, MLA says that Australian beef export to Japan during August fell by five per cent year-on-year to 28,454 tonnes swt, largely due to an 11 per cent fall in grainfed beef shipments, at 11,747 tonnes swt. Adverse trading conditions, including tight consumer spending, the high Austrqalian dollar and US competition worked against Australian grainfed beef, while grassfed exports for the month sustained similar volumes to last year.

The anticipation of possible new import protocols for US beef may have also made the Japanese buyers hesitant to commit for mid to long term contracts, impacting demand for Australian product.

In contrast, Australian frozen grassfed beef shipments to Japan during the month were almost identical to last August, at 13,167 tonnes swt, supported by firm demand from the Japanese fast food and casual eatery sectors.

For the first eight months of 2012, Australian beef exports totalled 210,352 tonnes swt, down five per cent from the corresponding period in 2011.

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