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Korean Beef Imports Back in February

02 April 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

SOUTH KOREA - Korean beef imports during February reached 18,023 tonnes – a decrease of 14 per cent year-on-year but four per cent above the five-year average for February Meat and Livestock Australia reports from the figures released by the Korea International Trade Association.

The year-on-year decline was largely due to a significant drop in frozen beef imports to 15,405 tonnes swt (down 14 per cent), with chilled beef down nine per cent, to 2,618 tonnes swt.

Korea imported 9,157 tonnes swt of beef from Australia during February (down seven per cent year-on-year).

Imports of chilled beef were slightly down (two per cent) year-on-year, to 2,100 tonnes swt, while the volume of frozen beef contracted eight per cent, to 7,057 tonnes swt.

Korea took a total of 6,447 tonnes swt of beef from the US during February, as a result of the substantial year-on-year decline in volumes of both chilled and frozen beef, at 517 tonnes swt (down 27 per cent) and 5,930 tonnes swt (down 24 per cent), respectively.

Korean imports of US short ribs during February were steady on last year, at 6,096 tonnes swt according to the Animal Plant and Fisheries Quarantine and Inspection Agency, MLA reports.

The imports of US short ribs for the first two months of 2013 reached 12,977 tonnes swt – 12 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year.

While the importation of Australian blade lifted 65 per cent year-on-year, to 1,484 tonnes swt, imports of chuck roll contracted to 1,422 tonnes swt (down 26 per cent year-on-year).

However, the chilled component of the chuck roll trade rose nine per cent year-on-year, to 331 tonnes swt.

MLA also reports that Korean wholesale prices for most imported beef items reportedly remained steady on last week, but were above the corresponding week last year.

Australian brisket prices this week were unchanged from last week, and three per cent higher than the same week last year, at KRW 7,000. Similarly, Australian short ribs prices were 29 per cent higher than last year, at KRW 11,000/kg, with Australian chuck roll rising 7 per cent, to KRW 8,100/kg. US short rib prices were also up 18 per cent on the same week last year, to KRW 13,000/kg.

In contrast, Hanwoo wholesale carcase prices were down another three per cent from last week and nine per cent lower than the same week last year, at KRW 11,699/kg, while beef cattle carcase prices decreased five per cent from the previous week, to KRW 8,412/kg. Pig wholesale carcase prices rose seven per cent from last week, to KRW 3,226/kg – but were still 26 per cent below the same week last year.

MLA said the Korea Economic Daily reported February retail sales at major large discount stores and department stores in Korea improved year-on-year for the first time in five months, assisted by additional holiday shopping at the Lunar New Year.

Sales at three major retailers (E-Mart, Lotte Mart and Homeplus) reportedly recovered 8.9 per cent year-on-year. Reflecting the improved retail sales, Korean consumer confidence for March improved another two points from the past month, to 104 points – the highest level in 10 months according to the Yonhap News Agency and Bank of Korea.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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