As we have reported over the past several weeks, growing utilization of the EU’s duty-free high-quality beef (HQB) quota – especially by Australia and Uruguay – has heightened concerns that the quota’s 48,200 metric ton (mt) capacity will be reached during the current quota year (July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015).
The 12,050 mt allocation for the July-September quarter reached its critical phase (90 percent utilization) with several days remaining in September. This led some importers to hold off clearing new shipments until the second quarterly tranche (also 12,050 mt) became available Oct. 1.
Not surprisingly, the HQB quota has seen heavy utilization in the opening days of the October-December quarter, for which the available capacity is 12,354 mt (the normal 12,050 mt, plus 304 mt carried over from the past quarter). In the first seven days of the new quarter, 2,371 mt were cleared or presented – meaning that utilization of the available capacity has already reached 19 percent.