May 5, 2017
Japan pork imports continue upward movement
Japanese pork imports continued to grow modestly in the first quarter, being up 8% year-on-year and following a trend seen throughout most of 2016, AHDB Pork said on Friday, May 5.
It said the US and Canada were the main beneficiaries of the import growth. Volumes from the US were 10% higher than the 2016 levels, while Canadian shipments grew a healthy 19%.
In contrast, EU shipments did not show any increase on the year and consequently lost 2% of the market share.
The EU may struggle to make gains on the Japanese market this year, not helped by increasing EU pig prices, the pork division of the UK Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board said.
Most of the North American shipments are fresh/chilled products. Supplies are expected to be plentiful this year, following expanding US production, which should keep prices competitive and support Japanese import requirements.
Import growth through 2017 is uncertain due to an anticipated slight decline in Japanese consumption on the back of competition from rival proteins: poultry and beef. AHDB Pork cited the latest USDA forecasts, which anticipate Japanese pork imports to be down by around 1% on the year in 2017.
"Whether developments in Japan have any dampening effect on the global … markets this year remains to be seen. However, tightening supplies within the EU and growing demand from other Asian destinations could counter any difficulties faced", AHDB Pork said.