“Significant inventory replenishment is required near term given empty supermarket shelves and Japan’s protein production is disrupted,” Farha Aslam, a New York-based analyst for Stephens Inc., said in a report. “Tyson and Smithfield have indicated that export traders are requesting as much product as possible be shipped to Japan.”
Susumu Harada, a senior director at the Tokyo office of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, said that last week’s earthquake and tsunami have damaged plants and slaughterhouses, hindering livestock output in the affected area. The damaged areas represent about 9% of Japan’s hog herd and 10% of beef cattle.
Keira Lombardo, a Smithfield spokeswoman, didn’t respond immediately to telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment. Gary Mickelson, a Tyson spokesman, said the company hasn’t experienced any disruption to shipments to Japan and its Tokyo sales office is operating and fully staffed.
“Our export business to Japan remains steady,” Mickelson said in an e-mail. “It remains premature to predict how the unfortunate situation in Japan will affect our export sales.”