JAPAN - Japan custom-cleared 36,847 tonnes of beef in March, down nine per cent year-on-year, with a large decline in imports of Australian frozen beef partially offset by a surge in US shortplate volumes according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Finance.
Meat and Livestock Australia said that shipments from the US reached 14,840 tonnes during the month, underpinned by significant (215 per cent) growth in frozen beef, at 9,060 tonnes.
The majority (94 per cent) of US frozen product was imported under the brisket and plate category, to be supplied mostly to gyudon beef bowl outlets.
In comparison, chilled beef intake from the US was subdued, at 5,780 tonnes (down nine per cent from last year), on the back of strong prices.
Imports from Australia were down 27 per cent from last March, at 18,832 tonnes, as frozen shipments declined 42 per cent, to 8,924 tonnes, compared with high volume in 2013.
Soft sales of the western style fast food sector, and robust demand for Australian manufacturing beef from other international markets also impacted trade.
Total beef imports during the Japanese fiscal year 2013 (April 2013 to March 2014) amounted to 534,938 tonnes, six per cent higher than the JFY 2012. Chilled and frozen beef imports from Australia during the period totalled 114,650 tonnes (down 10 per cent year-on-year) and 162,439 tonnes (also down 10 per cent), respectively.
TheMeatSite News Desk