Both domestic and imported beef prices in the Korean wholesale market increased this week (HKJM & industry sources).
Reportedly, the clearing of stocks of imported beef cuts in the last few weeks and strengthening offer prices from Australia has had some influence upon the market.
Current beef demand from consumers, however, remains subdued, despite ongoing promotions in retail and food service.
Korea’s Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (MIFAFF) reported this week it will offer compensation up to KRW300,000 (A$253) per calf, if prices fall below standard levels, as part of an initiative to stabilise Korea’s domestic beef production.
The Korean cattle herd has increased 1.54 million head (or 80%) since its low point in 2002, reaching a high of 3.46 million head in June 2011, with the most recent total for December 2011 falling slightly to 3.35 million head (Nonghyup).
Australian beef exports to Korea in February totaled 9,556 tonnes swt (DAFF).
Export volumes totalled 16,275 tonnes swt in the first two months of 2012 year – decreasing 29% on the same time last year, but increasing 21% on the same months in 2010.
A contributing factor to the strong Australian beef exports in the first quarter of 2011 was Korea’s battle with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
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