A combination of steady supplies and soft demand continued to sustain Japan's beef inventories at high levels during April, according to supply and demand data by Japan's Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation (ALIC).
Imported beef stocks in April totalled 94,234 t (boneless equivalent), 28% higher than the same time last year, while consumption remained very similar to the last year at 46,703 t (down 1%).
Beef sales at foodservice and retail during the month were reportedly firm, despite the rise in consumption tax, but weren't strong enough to drastically reduce the accumulating inventories since the US beef age relaxation in February 2013.
The Japanese domestic beef inventory totalled 12,405 t, up 23% from last year, on the back of declined consumption during the month (down 5% to 29,888 t).
ALIC forecasts that beef imports during May and June have decreased by 21.7% and 10%, respectively, compared with high volumes in 2013. It also anticipates that the Japanese beef production has decreased by 6.7% in May, and 3.9% in June, largely due to reduced Wagyu slaughter.
Source: Japan's Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation (ALIC)