December 2, 2011
US beef imports into Japan climb by 37%
US beef imports into Japan rose 37% on-year to 10,131 tonnes, with the 10 months to October totalling at 98,573 tonnes, up 40% from on-year and 44% of the pre-BSE level in 2003.
Overall, Japan imported 43,795 tonnes of beef in October, up 31% from the low volumes registered last year, according to the Ministry of Finance, Japan.
The weak US$ against the Japanese yen, particularly assisted their chilled beef business, with the US accounting for 31% of total chilled imports during the month up 8% from a year ago), at 5,406 tonnes. As a result, Australia's share in the imported chilled beef market fell 8% from last year to 63%, or 10,898 tonnes.
Broken down by storage and cut category, the average price of US beef was extremely competitive against Australian offerings during the month, despite the US age limitation protocols and its grain-fed orientation. The US chilled and frozen loins averaged lower than Australian, while 'frozen briskets' average prices were very close.
The US and Japanese governments have initiated a process in mid-November to review the current import protocols of US beef into Japan.