Update on Japan’s Beef, Pork Imports
Japan’s total beef/beef variety meat imports in October were down 1 percent from a year ago to 51,294 mt. Imports from the U.S. were up 49 percent to 20,156 mt, while volumes were lower for all other major suppliers. For January-October, beef/bvm imports were up 4 percent to 501,675 mt. Larger imports of U.S. beef were (181,187 mt, +42 percent) more than offset a decline from Australia (256,556 mt, -11 percent). Chilled beef imports were down 1 percent as larger imports from the U.S. (72,310, +19 percent) nearly offset declines from Australia (95,126 mt, -11 percent) and New Zealand (5,627 mt, -16 percent). Safeguard on frozen beef imports not likely to be triggered Frozen volumes were up 4 percent to 270,184 mt, with the U.S. up 58 percent to 83,345 mt and Australia down 13 percent to 141,150 mt. Based on projected volumes, it appears unlikely that Japan will trigger the frozen beef safeguard in the current quarter. (A detailed explanation of how Japan’s import safeguards operate was included in the Aug.2 edition of Export Newsline.) While chilled pork performs well, frozen imports struggle Japan’s total pork/pork variety meat imports in October were down 5 percent from a year ago to 86,499 mt, but imports from the U.S. were down only 1 percent (38,255 mt) while imports from the EU (19,461 mt, -8 percent) and Canada (16,013 mt, -11 percent) saw larger declines. For January-October, pork/pvm imports were down 4 percent to 794,657 mt with lower volumes from the U.S. (351,267 mt, -7 percent) and Canada (135,273 mt, -16 percent). Imports increased from the EU (196,323 mt, +3 percent), Mexico (49,400 mt, +29 percent) and Chile (24,796 mt, +7 percent). Given the continued tight supplies of frozen pork inventories in Japan, but also continued challenges related to the gate price, imports of chilled pork surged in October to the highest level in recent years (29,108 mt, +29 percent from a year ago). Imports were higher from both the U.S. (19,242 mt, +21 percent) and Canada (8,991 mt, +51 percent). January-October imports of chilled pork were up 13 percent to 264,889 mt, including higher totals from the U.S. (180,525 mt, +9 percent) and Canada (76,455 mt, +25 percent). Japan’s imports of ground seasoned pork also continued to increase in October. On the other hand, October imports of frozen pork continued their downward trend (37,677 mt, -19 percent). Imports from the U.S. (6,021 mt, 29 percent), Canada (5,317 mt, -60 percent) and EU (18,269 mt, -4 percent) were all lower while imports were larger from Mexico and Chile. January-October frozen imports were down 16 percent to 371,092 mt, as lower volumes from the U.S. (69,694 mt, -39 percent) and Canada (46,989 mt, -47 percent) were not fully offset by larger volumes from the EU (187,519 mt, +2 percent), Mexico (41,654 mt, +38 percent) and Chile (24,796 mt, +7 percent).