November 15, 2011
Imported beef stocks in Japan during end September slipped from extremely high levels in August, but remained 4% higher than a year earlier at 84,012 tonnes swt (data from Japan's Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation).
Concurrently, there was an increase of imported products kept in bond and yet to be cleared by customs â€“ up 20% on the previous month to 8,899 tonnes. The relatively high inventories may reflect the imbalance between steady import volumes this year (up 3% from January to September compared with the same time last year) and slow beef demand in the market.
In fact, imported beef consumption (amount of beef distributed in the market based on imports and the end of month inventories) during September was down 5% from last year to 47,654 tonnes (boneless equivalent).
September was a tough month for Japanese businesses primarily due to bad weather, with the foodservice sector, large distributor of Australian frozen beef, recording a 0.8% sales decline compared with 12 months ago.