Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation | March 5, 2019
FAS-Tokyo has posted its semi-annual GAIN Report on Japan’s livestock and meat production trends, as well as the latest data on beef and pork consumption and imports.
The report notes that Japanese beef consumption jumped 3.5 percent in 2018, exceeding projections. USMEF’s analysis of data from Japan’s Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation (ALIC) show that Japan’s per capita beef consumption increased significantly over the past three years and in 2018 increased by 4 percent to about 7.4 kg (product weight), a post-BSE high, driven by larger imports. Consumption of U.S. beef reached nearly 2 kg per capita, also a post-BSE high. Japan’s beef imports were the largest since 2001 at 615,700 mt, up 6 percent year-over-year and accounting for 66 percent of consumption (excluding variety meat). U.S. share of Japan’s beef imports eased slightly to 41 percent, even as Japan’s imports of U.S. beef increased by 3 percent to 250,119 mt (the largest since 2003).
As FAS notes, growth in Japan’s foodservice industry has continued to underpin demand for U.S. beef, as well as growing consumption of table meat (retail sales). Yakiniku restaurant revenue increased by 5.6 percent and western-style fast food, including hamburger chains, saw revenue growth of 3.8 percent.
FAS expects steady Japanese beef production this year and modest growth in beef imports, helped by the tariff reductions included in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Based on ALIC data, Japan’s 2018 pork consumption was an estimated 1.8 million mt (product weight), up 1 percent year-over-year. Per capita consumption has been growing for the past five years and increased by 1.5 percent to about 14.6 kg (a new record) in 2018. Household per capita consumption of table meat increased by 3.7 percent and household expenditures on pork were up 2 percent. Japan imported 1.14 million mt of chilled, frozen and processed pork last year, up slightly from 2017 but falling slightly below FAS projections. This was due in part to delayed customs clearance to January 2019, when CPTPP and Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) tariff reductions were applied. Imports from the U.S. were steady at 389,536 mt and U.S. market share also held at 34 percent. Domestic hog slaughter totaled 16.43 million head, up 0.6 percent from 2017, and domestic production totaled nearly 900,000 mt (product weight), up 1 percent.
FAS notes that from the initial finding in September 2018 through Feb. 25, 2019, Japan confirmed a total of 10 cases of classical swine fever (CSF) across five prefectures and culled 47,344 head (about 0.5 percent of the total hog population). The five prefectures are located in central Japan and together account for around 6 percent of Japan’s hog inventory. Demand for pork has not been impacted by CSF, and FAS forecasts Japan’s pork production will hold mostly steady this year. Slaughter in the first half could fall below year-ago levels but is expected to rebound in the second half as large-scale producers in southern Japan increase hog production to make up for potential losses in the CSF-affected areas.
FAS expects continued slight growth in Japan’s pork consumption, fueling modest import growth again this year. Inventories of imported pork were down 8 percent in December, and tight inventory indicates potential for growth in Japan’s pork imports in the near term.
January pork imports were down 15 percent (77,368 mt) and included a 52 percent decrease from the EU (to 14,365 mt). This suggests importers were waiting for the Feb. 1 implementation of the Japan-EU EPA. Imports were higher from Canada (19,510 mt, +4 percent), Mexico (8,797 mt, +15 percent) and Chile (2,587 mt, +25 percent) following the CPTPP implementation. January imports from the U.S. (29,544 mt, -3 percent) were modestly lower.