November 9, 2005


Australian beef exports to Japan down 12 percent in October


Australian beef exports to Japan were down 12 percent in October, compared with the same period last year, according to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). However, exports were up 17 percent when compared with September 2005 levels.

In September, Japan imported a total of 33,996 tonnes, comprising 15,655 tonnes of chilled beef and 18,341 tonnes of frozen beef.


Japanese imports of Australian chilled beef totalled 121,556 tonnes from April to September, below the level of 128,217 tonnes that would trigger Japan's ''snap-back tariff''. The higher tariff would be triggered if Japanese imports of chilled or frozen beef rose by more than 17 percent in a given quarter. MLA said an additional 75,113 tonnes of chilled beef could be exported to Japan from October to December, before triggering the tariff.


Meanwhile, Japan imported 127,994 tonnes of Australian frozen beef from April to September, well below the trigger level of 141,013 tonnes. An additional 74,873 tonnes of frozen beef could be imported from October to December, before triggering the tariff.


MLA said there was much uncertainty in Japan's beef market recently, as there were speculations about when US beef imports would be resumed.


High offer prices of Australian beef have also led some importers to suspend purchases, in anticipation of prices falling in future. However, importers have started to increase beef purchases to ensure they would be able to meet Japan's peak demand period soon.


As of end-October, Australian chilled and frozen beef made up 97 percent and 80 percent respectively of Japanese requirements. Australia supplied 88 percent of Japan's total beef imports during the period.

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