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Update on Russia’s Beef, Pork Imports

Russia’s frozen beef imports in September were down 14 percent from a year ago to 46,934 mt, pushing the January-September total down 15 percent to 367,203 mt. Brazil (206,344 mt 56 percent market share) dominated January-September imports, followed by Paraguay (97,528 mt, 26.6 percent), Uruguay (25,958 mt, 7 percent) and Australia (13,025 mt, 3.5 percent).

Beef TRQ Redistribution Underway
Imports within the EU TRQ were only 10,037 mt, leaving 83 percent (or 49,963 mt) unutilized. The U.S. (60,000 mt) and Costa Rica (3,000 mt) TRQs were also unutilized. Imports under the “others” TRQ were 303,452 mt, leaving 25 percent (103,548 mt) to be filled in the fourth quarter. In addition to utilizing the TRQ, some frozen beef from suppliers in the “others” category also paid full duty (31,444 mt) and entered through the Special Economic Zone at zero duty (16,997 mt). While no official order has been published to redistribute the U.S. and Costa Rican TRQs, USMEF-Russia staff has been informed by importers that the process of acquiring licenses for redistributed beef is being implemented. (However, this will not affect the volume of the U.S. TRQ in 2014 or beyond, as Russia is obligated to provide a 60,000 mt TRQ.)

Chilled beef imports in September were down 12 percent to 3,214 mt, putting the January-September total at 27,108 mt, down 4 percent. Imports within the EU TRQ (mainly from Lithuania, Poland and Denmark) totaled just 7,977 mt, leaving 72 percent (or 21,023 mt) unutilized. The other large sources of chilled imports have been Ukraine (8,060 mt) and Moldova (1,707 mt) through duty-free access from the free trade area with Russia. Imports from other countries included 4,017 mt at the full, 50 percent duty and 2,704 mt with the “others” TRQ, leaving 75 percent of the TRQ unutilized (or 8,296 mt available for fourth quarter imports). Brazil (6,162 mt) and Australia (1,772 mt) were the largest suppliers in this category.

Russia’s beef variety meat imports were also lower in September (9,396 mt, -19 percent) and from January through September (73,326 mt, -12 percent).

Pork imports trend lower; live hog imports plunge
Frozen pork imports in September were down 14 percent to 59,336 mt, with January-September down 12 percent to 438,676 mt. The EU accounted for 60 percent of import volume at 263,087 mt, followed by Brazil (99,450 mt, 23 percent market share) and Canada (52,666 mt, 12 percent). Imports within the global TRQ totaled 310,591 mt, leaving 28 percent (or 119,409 mt) to be utilized during the fourth quarter. Imports paying full (65 percent) duty totaled 47,292 mt while imports at zero duty through the special economic zone reached 78,089 mt.

Russia Live Hog Prices for 2009 - 2013

Pork variety meat imports were down sharply in September (7,213 mt, -50 percent), pushing the January-September total down 32 percent to 71,858 mt. Pork fat imports were also lower in September (17,247 mt, -25 percent) and for January-September (193,224 mt, -13 percent).

Live hog imports through September were down 87 to 98 percent depending on the category, reflecting import bans from several EU member states. Russia’s live hog prices reached their 2013 peak in late September at $1.24 per pound, but this was still down 8 percent from last year. Prices in late October eased to $1.22 per pound, but were up about 4 percent year-over-year. Russia’s hog prices began to plunge in September 2012, did not reach a bottom until April 2013, and have still not recovered previous levels.

NOTE: Russian’s in-quota beef imports pay 15 percent duty, while in-quota pork imports pay zero duty.