AUSTRALIA, Sydney After a slow start to 2015, beef imports into Indonesia were up in February and March, resulting in a 3% increase in overall volume in the first quarter, at 22,008 t.
Imports of chilled beef during the first three months of 2015 declined 87% year-on-year, as restrictions were put in place on all secondary cuts – a proportion of which was imported as chilled for distribution at modern retail, and as retailers were instructed to allocate a proportion of shelf space for local beef alongside the existing imported beef business. In the meantime, frozen beef imports increased 11%, more than offsetting the decline in chilled volumes.
The change in beef imports were largely reflected by shipments received from Australia, which increased 33% year-on-year during the three months to March, to 19,916 tonnes. In contrast, imports from New Zealand and the US declined during this period, attributed to both Indonesian government regulatory changes and strong demand from the US domestic market.
At the end of March, Indonesia was estimated to have imported around 100,000 head of Australian live cattle. While the quota allocated was much less than requested by the Indonesian feedlot industry, the high number of cattle imported into the market towards the end of 2014 has kept the number of cattle in feedlots stable, with beef prices at Jakarta wet market from January to March reportedly steady to slightly lower compared with the previous quarter – yet still averaging above year-ago levels, particularly for loin cuts.