Slump in beef exports to Japan

Australian beef exports to Japan are at their lowest since 2003 according to latest figures from the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

In 2011 30 202 tonnes of beef was sent from Australia to Japan, down four per cent that 2010.

Beef exports were at the mercy of the high Australian dollar, the department said, causing Japan to turn to the US for more of its beef imports.

Despite the slump, Japan still remains the biggest exporter of Australian beef, making up 36 per cent of total shipments.

The latest figures are surprising given that last year the department’s figures showed November beef exports were the highest for the month in three years due to a lift in trade to the United States and Japan, the changes to currency value and higher rates of processing.

Almost 90 000 tonnes of beef was exported in November, up 1.3 per cent from the same period the previous year, making it the highest export rate for the month since 2006 when 94 600 tonnes were exported.

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