Highlights

Japanese beef production continued to decline in 2016, while pork production rebounded. U.S. chilled beef exports grew 50 percent, driving the U.S. share of total beef imports to a 13-year high. U.S. beef exports to Japan should continue to grow in 2017, capturing additional market share. Higher volumes of North American and Japanese chilled pork helped fuel record consumption in 2016, while European suppliers dominated the market for frozen cuts.

Executive Summary

Japanese beef production fell for a fourth straight year in 2016, though heavier slaughter weights offset some of the decline in slaughter. Increasing Wagyu cow retention in response to sustained, record-setting feeder calf prices points to an increased calf crop in 2017 and a modest rebuilding of the Wagyu cattle herd. Larger supplies of U.S. beef and tighter supplies of Japanese domestic and Australian beef helped drive a 50 percent increase in U.S. chilled beef cut exports in 2016, pushing the U.S. share of imported chilled beef up five percentage points to 44 percent. Total beef imports rebounded in 2016, as sharply higher chilled beef imports more than offset a decline in frozen beef import volumes. The United States expanded its share of the total imported beef cuts market by five percentage points, reaching a post-BSE high of 38 percent. FAS Tokyo anticipates 2016 production and trade patterns to continue into 2017, driving U.S. market share to an estimated 42 percent. 2016 Japanese pork production rose on higher slaughter volume as the average piglets per litter figure more than recovered from the effects of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv). Pork consumption in Japan set another new record in 2016, as ample domestic and imported supplies kept downward pressure on prices and enhanced pork competitiveness in the ongoing battle for consumer protein spending. Total pork imports rose considerably in 2016, with volumes of chilled and frozen pork cuts growing briskly and prepared pork products volume remaining flat. European Union (EU) suppliers captured and U.S. suppliers ceded equal shares of the import market for frozen cuts in 2016, as large volumes of competitively priced European frozen cuts continued to affect trade dynamics. FAS Tokyo projects total pork imports to recede slightly in 2017 as Japanese processors unwind accumulated stocks of (mostly European) frozen cuts.

Production, Supply and Distribution Data Statistics:

Cattle PS&D

Animal Numbers, Cattle

2015

2016

2017

Market Begin Year

Jan 2015

Jan 2016

Jan 2017

Japan

USDA Official

New Post

USDA Official

New Post

USDA Official

New Post

Total Cattle Beg. Stks

3860

3860

3824

3824

3800

3810

Dairy Cows Beg. Stocks

750

750

752

752

750

745

Beef Cows Beg. Stocks

578

578

588

589

590

595

Production (Calf Crop)

1210

1227

1215

1190

1220

1190

Total Imports

9

9

5

9

10

10

Total Supply

5079

5096

5044

5023

5030

5010

Total Exports

0

0

0

0

0

0

Cow Slaughter

516

514

500

480

495

480

Calf Slaughter

6

6

5

5

5

5

Other Slaughter

595

587

580

566

575

560

Total Slaughter

1117

1107

1085

1051

1075

1045

Loss

138

165

159

162

155

160

Ending Inventories

3824

3824

3800

3810

3800

3805

Total Distribution

5079

5096

5044

5023

5030

5010

Beef and Veal PS&D

Meat, Beef and Veal

Market Begin Year

Japan

2015

2016

2017

Jan 2015

Jan 2016

Jan 2017

USDA Official

New Post

USDA Official

New Post

USDA Official

New Post

Slaughter (Reference)

1117

1107

1085

1051

1075

1045

Beginning Stocks

185

185

185

185

162

151

Production

481

481

465

465

460

460

Total Imports

707

708

715

719

730

745

Total Supply

1373

1374

1365

1369

1352

1356

Total Exports

2

2

3

2

3

2

Human Dom. Consumption

1186

1187

1200

1216

1200

1215

Other Use, Losses

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total Dom. Consumption

1186

1187

1200

1216

1200

1215

Ending Stocks

185

185

162

151

149

139

Total Distribution

1373

1374

1365

1369

1352

1356


Swine PS&D

Animal Numbers, Swine

Market Begin Year

Japan

2015

2016

2017

Jan 2015

Jan 2016

Jan 2017

USDA Official

New Post

USDA Official

New Post

USDA Official

New Post

Total Beginning Stocks

9440

9440

9313

9313

9150

9100

Sow Beginning Stocks

855

855

845

845

855

845

Production (Pig Crop)

16500

16700

16700

16600

16500

16600

Total Imports

1

1

1

1

1

1

Total Supply

25941

26141

26014

25914

25651

25701

Total Exports

0

0

0

0

0

0

Sow Slaughter

0

0

0

0

0

0

Other Slaughter

16105

16105

16400

16393

16250

16300

Total Slaughter

16105

16105

16400

16393

16250

16300

Loss

523

723

464

421

451

401

Ending Inventories

9313

9313

9150

9100

8950

9000

Total Distribution

25941

26141

26014

25914

25651

25701

Pork PS&D

Meat, Swine

Market Begin Year

Japan

2015

2016

2017

Jan 2015

Jan 2016

Jan 2017

USDA Official

New Post

USDA Official

New Post

USDA Official

New Post

Slaughter (Reference)

16105

16105

16400

16393

16250

16300

Beginning Stocks

246

246

200

200

203

211

Production

1254

1254

1275

1279

1265

1270

Total Imports

1270

1269

1320

1364

1320

1350

Total Supply

2770

2769

2795

2843

2788

2831

Total Exports

2

3

2

2

2

2

Human Dom. Consumption

2568

2566

2590

2630

2585

2624

Other Use, Losses

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total Dom. Consumption

2568

2566

2590

2630

2585

2624

Ending Stocks

200

200

203

211

201

205

Total Distribution

2770

2769

2795

2843

2788

2831

Beef

2016 Market Situation Summary

Japanese Slaughter, Beef Production Continued to Fall in 2016

Japanese total slaughter declined for the fourth consecutive year in 2016, falling five percent from 2015 to 1.051 million head. The steady contraction of breeding stock for beef (mostly Black Wagyu) and dairy (mostly Holstein) cattle led to smaller calf crops in 2013 and 2014.

Higher average slaughter weights (up two percent from 2015 to 444 kg per head) in 2016 helped to offset some of the decline in total slaughter numbers, resulting in total beef production falling by three percent to 464,661 metric tons (MT). Lower imported grain prices in 2016 resulted in lower commercial feed prices, supporting heavier slaughter weights and helping cattle feeders partially offset sustained record high feeder calf prices, which rose another 22 percent year-on-year for Black Wagyu and an additional 6 percent for F-1 cross breeds (Wagyu x Holstein) in 2016.

2016 Japanese cattle slaughter, broken down by breed and in order of total slaughter share:

• Wagyu steer/bull: 238,883 head, down six percent (23 percent of total slaughter)

• Wagyu heifer/cow: 205,520 head, down 11 percent (20 percent)

• Dairy steer/bull: 197,150 head, down five percent (19 percent)

• Dairy heifer/cow: 168,978 head, down five percent (16 percent)

• F-1 cross steer/bull: 120,030 head, up three percent (11 percent)

• F-1 cross heifer/cow: 104,155 head, down one percent (10 percent)

• Calf slaughter (all breeds): 5,153 head, down 13 percent (0.5 percent)

The average finishing age is about 30 months for Wagyu steers, 24 months for F1 cross breeds, and 20 months for Holstein steers.

The decline in Wagyu cow slaughter (down 11 percent) represents both the continued trend of small-scale cow-calf operators exiting the industry without successors as well as a modest increase in the retention of breeding cows in response to stratospheric Wagyu feeder calf prices. Average Wagyu feeder calf prices for Japanese Fiscal Year (JFY) 2016 are on pace to more than double the JFY 2011 average. The effects of tightening Wagyu feeder calf supplies have spilled over into the market for F-1 calves, driving increased utilization of artificial insemination of dairy cows with Wagyu semen and further affecting the supply of dairy cattle for both milk and meat production.

U.S. Chilled Cuts, Frozen Stocks Drove 2016 Beef Consumption Higher

Japanese total beef consumption exceeded previous FAS Tokyo projections, growing two percent to 1.26 million MT in 2016. Japanese consumption of chilled and frozen cuts rose three percent to an estimated 1.202 million MT. The total volume of imported beef cuts on the market rose seven percent in 2016, accounting for 62 percent of total beef supply in Japan (up two percentage points from 2015).

Tighter supplies of Australian and Japanese beef opened additional market opportunities for U.S. chilled beef in 2016. A relatively stronger yen throughout much of 2016, combined with continued U.S. beef production growth, enhanced the price competitiveness of U.S. beef export offers.The average import price of U.S. chilled cuts fell eight percent to $6,912/MT, partially due to the relative strength of the Japanese yen. By comparison, the average import price of Australian chilled cuts rose four percent to $7,491 dollars/MT in 2016, largely on tighter exportable supplies.

Throughout 2016, retailers, hotels and food service outlets across Japan reportedly expanded menu offerings of U.S. chilled cuts. Retailers’ increased handling of “American beef” in 2016 helped to snap a three-year decline in Japanese household beef consumption (up four percent over 2015), which had been losing ground relative to lower-priced pork, chicken and other proteins. By penetrating deeper into the hotel and food service sectors (traditional end-users of Australian short-fed, chilled cuts), U.S. beef expanded beyond its usual domain (Korean-style barbecue, family restaurant chains, and high-end hotels / specialty restaurants serving steak) in 2016.

Japanese consumption of imported beef was propelled further in 2016 by Japanese importers unwinding large year-beginning volumes of frozen beef (including large volumes of U.S. short plate cuts and Australian trimmings, which had been purchased at higher prices in 2015). Commonly used in Japanese quick serve restaurant chains (short plate for beef bowls) and Western quick serve chains (trimmings for hamburgers), the latest data from the Japan Food Service Association (JF) confirm that Japanese consumers were eating more plate cuts and trimmings, as Japanese quick serve sales rose six percent (customers up two percent) and Western quick serve sales increased by 10 percent (customers up five percent). Japan’s largest hamburger chain posted year-over-year sales of growth of 20 percent in 2016, marking a significant recovery.

U.S. Chilled Beef Soared in 2016, Offsetting Declines in Frozen Cut Imports

After falling for three straight years, Japanese total beef imports rose two percent in 2016 to 718,868 MT, including 704,516 MT of beef cuts (up two percent), a small volume of carcasses, and 14,352 MT of prepared products (down six percent). U.S. beef exports to Japan had been growing sharply in 2016, in spite of a significant import tariff disadvantage relative to Australian cuts. By the end of 2016, U.S. exports were up 16 percent overall to 268,971 MT, more than offsetting reduced imports from Australia, which were down five percent to 381,945 MT. As a result, the U.S. share of Japan’s total imports of beef cuts in 2016 rose to 38 percent (up five percentage points from 2015 and a post-bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) high), while Australia’s share dropped four percentage points to 54 percent.

Increases in imports of (primarily U.S.) chilled beef cuts (up 12 percent to 320,754 MT), exceeded the decline in frozen beef imports (down eight percent to 383,762 MT). U.S. exports of chilled cuts skyrocketed up 50 percent to 142,415 MT in 2016, capturing an additional 5 percentage points of chilled cut market share and narrowing the gap with Australia, which ceded 11 percentage points, falling to 41 percent or 163,769 MT.

The meteoric rise in imports of U.S. chilled beef volumes exceeded the chilled beef safeguard trigger level for non-Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) trade partners in the third quarter (Oct. – Dec.) of JFY 2016, as total volumes of 90,350 MT far outstripped the trigger level of 70,308 MT on a customs-cleared weight basis. However, as Japanese total chilled beef imports from all trade partners over that same period only reached 183,264 MT (well short of the 230,642 MT level for the all trade partners safeguard trigger level) the safeguard snap-back tariffs for chilled beef were not implemented. The chances for triggering the chilled beef safeguard in JFY 2016 remain negligible, as an additional 109,109 MT of chilled beef could be imported in the fourth quarter (equivalent to 36,370 MT per month) before exceeding the all trade partners safeguard trigger level of 292,355 MT. Japanese imports of Australian beef fell. As Australian slaughter weights rose three percent above the 2015 level to 287 kg according to Meat and Livestock Australia data. Though total Australian cattle slaughter numbers (including calves) were down approximately 19 percent in 2016 to 7.830 million head, total production fell by only 16 percent to 2.125 million MT. Australian beef and veal exports in 2016 totaled 1.018 million MT (on a shipped weight basis), of which some 116,657 MT (or nine percent) was destined for Japan.

Industry sources attribute the 2016 decline in imports of frozen cuts to the unwinding of U.S. frozen short plate stocks (for beef bowls and Korean-style barbecue) and of Australian grass-fed frozen trimmings (for hamburger patties), supporting FAS Tokyo analysis of JF data. In 2016, imports of frozen plates/briskets (HS 0202.30.030) fell nine percent to 165,241 MT (U.S. down eight percent to 110,628 MT and Australia down 12 percent to 32,644 MT). In 2016, imports of frozen trimmings (HS 0202.30.090) fell four percent to 154,515 MT, with Australia (down three percent to 150,052 MT) accounting for 97 percent of the total volume.

2017 Market Outlook Update

Consumption Flat, But Another Strong Year Expected for U.S. Beef in 2017

Japanese and Australian beef should continue to create opportunities for U.S. beef in the Japanese market. FAS Tokyo anticipates that 2016 market dynamics will continue through 2017, as consumption growth of relatively higher priced beef (both domestic and imported) could be limited by intense cross-commodity competition with ample supplies of pork and broiler meat. FAS Tokyo anticipates total beef consumption growth in 2017 to be flat at 1.25 million MT.

Japanese total cattle slaughter is projected to fall slightly to 1.045 million head, on slightly lower calf crops in 2014 – 2015, driving total production down slightly to 460,000 MT on relatively heavy slaughter weights.

FAS Tokyo raised its 2017 forecast for total Japanese beef imports up another 15,000 MT to 745,000 MT (chilled and frozen cuts up four percent to 731,000 MT; prepared products unchanged at 14,000 MT). Similar to 2016, FAS Tokyo anticipates U.S. beef expanding its presence on Japanese retail shelves and in food service outlets, as continued high levels of U.S. production place downward pressure on price offers for U.S. chilled cuts, while Australian beef supplies (especially short-fed chilled cuts) may tighten further in 2017. The beef production anticipates a three percent increase in 2017 and lower average prices for fed steers. The most recent Meat & Livestock Australia analysis projects total cattle (including calves) slaughter falling an additional four percent in 2017 to 7.725 million head (or 2.076 million MT, down three percent from 2016 on a carcass weight basis) and total beef exports falling five percent to 970,000 MT (shipped weight basis).

The recent launch of several U.S. beef brands by major Japanese meat importers could provide additional tailwinds for U.S. beef prospects in Japan in 2017. With marketing strategies appealing to the story behind the product and exacting product specifications, which can include grade, breed, finishing weight, and even specific feeder calf suppliers, Japanese meat importers have made a significant investment in expanding future U.S. beef import volumes. If these brands succeed, Japanese retailers and food service outlets could generate additional demand for high-value U.S. chilled cuts in 2017 and beyond. FAS Tokyo projects the U.S. share of total imported beef cuts to climb another four percentage points in 2017 (to 42 percent, or 308,000 MT), largely on lower Australian volumes, which FAS Tokyo forecasts falling to 371,000 MT (down three percentage points to 51 percent).

Following the significant drawdown of stocks in 2016, traders will have to replenish frozen middle meats and trimmings in 2017 or 2018 to ensure that end-users (Japanese and Western quick serve chains) have sufficient running stocks. With price offers for Australian grass-fed trimmings likely to remain high in 2017, FAS Tokyo is forecasting 2017 year-ending stocks down another eight percent to 139,000 MT.

Pork

2016 Market Situation Summary

Japanese Production, Slaughter Fully Recovered from PEDv

Despite a smaller beginning sow inventory of 844,700 head (down five percent from 2014 year beginning), Japan’s total hog slaughter increased modestly in 2016 to 16.393 million head (up two percent from 2015), lifting total production to 1.279 million MT (also up two percent).

With average carcass weight unchanged in 2016 (at about 78 kg) and sow inventory lower, the explanation for increased slaughter and production is an increase in the number of pigs-per-litter. The primary explanation for the discernable increase in pigs-per-litter numbers is a near full recovery from Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv), which had hampered Japanese production since it emerged in 2013. Following a peak in 2014, the number of reported cases and of swine lost to PEDv continued to decline through 2016. Efforts by Japanese swine breeders to expand utilization of breeding sows with improved pigs-per-litter genetics further supported the increase in national pigs-per-litter numbers in 2016.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), between September 2016 and January 2017, there were 35 reported cases across 12 prefectures, resulting in the death of 937 out of 6,855 infected animals. Looking back at the 12-month period from September 2015 through August 2016, there were 117 reported cases across 16 prefectures, resulting in the death of 30,987 out of 148,033 infected animals.

Back-to-Back Record High Consumption on Larger Volumes, Lower Prices

After hitting an historic high in 2015, Japan’s total pork consumption climbed another two percent in 2016 to 2.63 million MT. The total consumption of chilled and frozen pork cuts is estimated to have increased three percent in 2016 to 2.384 million MT. Pork demand and supply estimates, the volume of imported pork cuts in distribution grew four percent year-on-year, reaching 49 percent of the total market (up one percentage point from 2015), while the volume of domestic pork cuts increased by one percent (falling one percentage point to 51 percent market share). Ample pork supplies maintained downward pressure on market prices in 2016, enhancing the competitiveness of pork relative to broiler meat, which was equally plentiful in 2016, and helping Japanese buyers set a new consumption record for the second year in-a-row.

Higher volumes of lower-priced North American chilled pork cuts on retail shelves, which distribute nearly half of the pork consumed in Japan, helped to drive Japanese household pork consumption up three percent in 2016. Lower-priced, imported chilled and frozen cuts also drove strong sales in the food service and ready-to-eat food sectors (including lunch box vendors), helping to shatter the consumption record previously set in 2015. Japanese pork cutlet (tonkatsu) chain restaurants are the largest end-users of U.S. and Canadian chilled loins; beef bowl (gyudon) chain restaurants (which also serve ‘pork bowl’) consume large volumes of frozen bellies; lunch box (bento) vendors favor frozen picnics and bellies; Japanese hot pot restaurants use paper-thin slices of frozen bellies for ‘shabu shabu’; and ramen shops take frozen shoulder and leg cuts for the roasted slices of pork that adorn many bowls of noodles in Japan.

The large volumes of EU-origin frozen cuts that continued to arrive in 2016 could not be fully absorbed by the processing sector, where demand remained sluggish. Recently published data from the Japan Ham and Sausage Processors Cooperative Association indicate that the volume of chilled and frozen pork cuts used for processed products (mainly ham, bacon and sausage) in 2016 was unchanged at 439,915 MT (on a boneless equivalent basis and excluding the volume of imported seasoned ground pork). While utilization of imported cuts was down one percent to 315,047, utilization of domestic cuts was up two percent to 124,868 MT, and utilization of imported seasoned ground pork was 11 percent higher at 111,002 MT (on a product weight basis). As 2016 imports of seasoned ground pork were down slightly, the data point towards drawing down stocks of frozen seasoned ground pork in response to strong sales of lower-priced sausages, dumplings, and other processed products in the value segment of the sector.

Solid Demand, Large Global Supplies Drove 2016 Imports Higher

Recovering from a dip in 2015, Japan’s total pork imports rose nine percent in 2016 to 1.364 million MT, even higher than FAS Tokyo anticipated in the previous annual forecast. Total imports of chilled and frozen pork cuts (including several thousand MT of carcasses) were up 9 percent to 1.12 million MT, with increases in chilled cuts up 10 percent (to 462,157 MT) and frozen cuts up 8 percent (to 657,378 MT).The total import figure also included 244,000 MT of prepared products, primarily seasoned ground pork from the United States and Canada.

Stronger than expected performance in retail outlets as well as expanded food service utilization helped push imports of chilled cuts from the United States and Canada higher in 2016, up 10 percent (to 268,302 MT) and 13 percent (to 178,403 MT) respectively. U.S. and Canadian chilled cuts account for 97 percent of Japan’s total imports of chilled cut. U.S. chilled cut export offers benefitted in 2016 from a relatively stronger yen and ample exportable supplies, as U.S. production expanded in 2015 – 2016 following recovery from the worst effects of PEDv and on lower feed prices.

EU suppliers continued to expand their presence in frozen cut segment of the Japanese market, as the bloc increased its market share to 62 percent (up four percentage points from 2015) on total frozen cut shipments of 407,881 MT (up 16 percent from 2015). While the continued rise of EU pork exports to Japan can dominate the discussion of frozen cuts, sustained growth of Mexican frozen cut exports to the Japanese market should not be overlooked. Japanese imports of frozen cuts from Mexico rose 12 percent in 2016 to 82,298 MT (equal to 13 percent market share), as strong food service demand for pork cuts requiring higher levels of manual labor bolster the competitiveness of suppliers with relatively lower labor costs.

Despite total imports of frozen cuts climbing eight percent year-on-year to 505,675 MT, U.S. and Canadian suppliers ceded significant market share (four and two percentage points, respectively) to EU and Mexican suppliers in 2016. U.S. exports of frozen cuts to Japan fell 19 percent in 2016 (to 74,991 MT), while Canadian exports fell 7 percent (to 53,814 MT), pushing the two suppliers down to the fourth and fifth largest suppliers to the Japanese market (each down two positions from 2013). Sustained high levels of production across major EU suppliers and the continued enforcement of wide-ranging Russian import bans on EU pork through the end of 2016 created considerable additional supplies of frozen pork cuts in the global market, much of which has landed in Asian importing countries. However, following the February 23, 2017 Appellate Body ruling at the World Trade Organization (WTO), which confirmed earlier WTO findings, it is unclear how long, or in what form, the Russian import bans will continue in 2017.

Imports of prepared pork products (including seasoned ground pork from North America as well as fully cooked products like ready-to-eat dumplings from China) remained flat in 2016 at 244,093 MT (roughly the same level as 2015). As mentioned earlier, imports of seasoned ground pork (the largest single component of the prepared products segment) were lower in 2016, with volumes from leading suppliers the United States and Canada falling to 143,533 MT and 19,538 MT, respectively.

As processing demand remained relatively sluggish in 2016, the sizable influx of EU-origin frozen cuts generated excess supply. While a portion of that excess supply penetrated deeper into the food service sector a sizable volume ended up in stocks, which ended 2016 five percent higher at 211,000 MT.

2017 Market Outlook Update

Consumption, Imports Expected to Remain High in 2017, Down from Recent Record FAS Tokyo has not changed the 2017 year beginning sow inventory or 2017 pig crop estimates. Assuming that the year beginning sow inventory is sustained, FAS Tokyo projects Japan’s total hog slaughter to fall slightly in 2017 to around 16.30 million head (1.270 million MT of total production), as farmers continue to exit the industry without successors. FAS Tokyo anticipates that continued evolution of the Japanese industry (farms operated by Japanese ham and sausage manufacturers, farms operated by agricultural cooperatives, and semi-integrated farms jointly operated by multiple individual owners) will mitigate the effects of the decline, but will not prevent net contraction of production in Japan.

With Japanese domestic production in 2017 forecast at nearly the same level as 2016, volumes of Japanese chilled pork for retail and food service outlets should remain large enough to maintain downward pressure on consumer prices. With considerable exportable supplies of North American chilled cuts anticipated to be available in 201, downward pressure on export price offers are expected to maintain the competitiveness of imported chilled cuts, sustaining high distribution levels in the retail sector and high utilization rates in the food service and institutional sectors. With Russian import bans on EU-origin pork products scheduled to remain in place through August 2017, ample supplies of EU and North American frozen cuts should be available through much of 2017.

However, with a relatively weaker yen (dropping roughly 10 percent of its value against the dollar since November 2016) and considerable carryover stocks of frozen cuts from brisk 2016 trade, Japanese importers should be less aggressive in procuring frozen cuts in 2017. With Japanese broiler meat consumption anticipated at near-record levels in 2017, there will be considerable demand for Japanese consumer spending on animal proteins at the value end of the spectrum. At the other end of the spectrum, increasing supplies of chilled U.S. beef at relatively lower price offers (compared to recent years) could support additional Japanese consumer spending on beef, as a relative luxury item becomes more attainable in 2017. Japanese households have increased consumption of pork by 9 percent over the last five years (associated with a 24 percent increase in consumer expenditure on pork over that same time) and consumption of broiler meat by 11 percent, while household beef consumption has remained relatively flat; it is unclear how much further animal protein consumption could increase in 2017.

Amid particularly pitched competition between animal proteins in 2017, FAS Tokyo forecasts that total pork consumption will decline imperceptibly from the 2016 record high to 2.624 million MT in 2017. On marginally lower total consumption, flat or lower consumption of processed pork products, sizeable year-beginning stocks, and a relatively weaker yen, FAS Tokyo anticipates that total pork imports will be slightly lower in 2017 at 1.350 million MT, with imports of chilled cuts essentially flat and smaller volumes of frozen cuts from the EU. As pork processors unwind frozen stocks and moderate purchases of frozen cuts in 2017, FAS Tokyo projects year-ending stocks fiver percent lower at 205,000 MT.