Taiwan’s Beef Imports Strong in July; Pork Imports Shifting toward EU

This chart illustrates Taiwan's Hog Prices from monthly from 2012 through 2014 in US dollars per pound

Taiwan’s July imports of U.S. beef were sharply higher than a year ago in both volume (2,964 mt, +58 percent) and value ($28.45 million, +71 percent). Demand remained strong for chilled U.S. beef, as it accounted for 44 percent of the total volume and 59 percent of the value. For January through July, the U.S. supplied 62 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef imports.

“Taiwan’s rapid growth in chilled beef imports has resulted from an increase in demand from the foodservice sector, as well as a narrowing of the price difference between chilled and frozen beef prices,” said Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. “In addition, Taiwan’s importers have become more adept at managing chilled inventories, with most major players now having individual quick frozen (IQF) equipment.”

USMEF has been promoting the attributes of wet-aged products in recent years, including a seminar held this week in southern Taiwan for representatives of major foodservice chains. Educating customers in this manner allows importers to capture premiums for chilled product during distribution. Although demand for dry-aged products has increased in Taiwan, many foodservice customers were previously unaware of the natural aging process that occurs as chilled product is en route to Taiwan.

Through the first seven months of the year, Taiwan’s total chilled/frozen beef imports from all suppliers were 62,524 mt (+9 percent) valued at $378.8 million (+11 percent). Import volume from the U.S. was down 3 percent in volume (18,738 mt), but increased 2 percent in value ($160 million) as a result of strong chilled demand.

Taiwan’s imports of U.S. pork/pork variety meat continued to trend downward in July, putting the seven-month total at 10,484 mt (-18 percent). Taiwan has been buying significantly more pork from the EU, which now accounts for more than 40 percent of total imports. Through July, Taiwan’s total pork/pvm import volume was 48,361 mt – one third higher than last year’s pace.

Taiwan’s hog prices held strong into early August, still up 22 percent from a year ago and averaging $1.23 per pound, live basis.