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Taiwan’s Heavy Imports of EU Pork Continue through September; Beef Imports Steady

Taiwanese-Hog-Price-Pork-Imports

Taiwan’s pork/pork variety meat imports remained strong in September at 6,850 metric tons (mt), up 46 percent from a year ago. Imports from the EU (4,495 mt, +311 percent) continue to surge, while volumes were lower from the United States and Canada. For January through September, imports increased 30 percent to 59,779 mt as volume tripled from the EU (28,828 mt, +203 percent) and imports from Canada (18,309 mt, -10 percent) and the U.S. (12,582 mt, -22 percent) were lower.

Government-operated Taiwan Sugar Corporation increased prices of processed pork (+11.6 percent) and frozen pork (+22.2 percent), its first price adjustment in three years. Taiwan’s hog prices maintained their high level in September at $1.22 per pound live weight, up 23 percent from a year ago. September slaughter was 533,522 head, down 10 percent, but weights were nearly 4 percent higher at 265 pounds.

Taiwan’s entire food industry is struggling to win back consumer confidence after the recent recycled cooking oil scandal. In an effort to mitigate a cooking oil shortage that has been driving up food prices, the government cut import tariffs for lard and pork fat in half, reducing the duty rate from 20 percent to 10 percent for a period of six months. Pork fat imports had already been on the rise, increasing from basically zero in 2013 to more than 2,800 mt in the first three quarters of this year, mainly from the EU. Nationwide restaurant sales in Taiwan performed very well in August, increasing nearly 5 percent year-over-year to about $1.2 billion. But these figures do not fully reflect any pushback from the tainted oil scandal, which surfaced late in the month.

Taiwan’s September beef/beef meat imports were steady with last year’s pace at 7,012 mt. For January through September, imports were up 10 percent to 78,057 mt. Volume from the United States was up slightly in September (2,883 mt, +0.4 percent) and 4 percent higher for the year at 25,095 mt. Imports from Australia were down slightly in September (2,810 mt, -0.2 percent) and up 6 percent for the year to 29,028 mt. Imports from New Zealand fell significantly in September (623 mt, -32 percent), but still posted the largest percentage gain for the year (18,202 mt, +18 percent).

Chilled beef imports from the United States slowed in September but the nine-month total was still up 17 percent to 9,329 mt – accounting for 57 percent of Taiwan’s chilled imports.