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Near record beef prices in Japan

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Well-known member
Mar 7, 2005
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Sarasota Florida
MLA [3 Jul 2005]
Near record beef prices in Japan

With US beef and offal imports absent from the Japanese market, combined with disrupted supply of chicken due to Avian influenza outbreaks both in Japan and other key chicken suppliers to the Japanese market, such as China, prices on Japanese domestic beef are near all time historical high levels.

Wholesale carcase prices for F1 Wagyu cross steers of the B2 grade averaged 1,315 yen/kg in June, slightly down from the peak of 1,445 yen/kg reached in May. Prices for this grade of beef were 12% higher than June 2004, 40% higher than June 2003 and 153% higher than June 2002, when the market was still impacted by the confirmation of BSE in Japan. Compared with the more normal trading conditions of June 2001, prices in June 2005 are 43% higher.

The dramatic increases in prices are not confined to this higher grade of beef, rather it is the lower priced beef grades that have seen the most extreme increases, with dairy steer prices jumping 16% compared with June 2004, 64% compared with June 2003, 211% compared with June 2002 and 25% compared with June 2001. Wagyu A5 grade of beef, considered the highest grade in Japan, has increased only 3% compared with June 2004, 1% compared with June 2003, 20% compared with June 2002 and 1% compared with June 2001.

Astonishingly, prices for Japanese beef are even higher than levels in June 1991, when the market for beef had just started to liberalise, and beef consumption was a luxury afforded by few consumers.

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