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COVID-19: impacts on markets

07 April 2020

The unprecedented and unpredictable nature of COVID-19 makes it very difficult to report on the complete range of impacts to Australian red meat and livestock industry in an accurate and timely manner.

It is clear that even though China appears to be emerging from COVID-19 shutdown, the crisis is escalating across the rest of the world and will continue to disrupt consumption of Australian red meat domestically and around the globe.

Here’s a summary of some consistent impacts seen in global markets:

  • Red meat supply and logistics (processing, sea freight and air freight): major disruptions, including flight cancellations restricting air-freight capacity, refrigerated containers being held at ports and not returned to global circulation, labour shortages and slow customs clearance. The Australian Government has launched the International Freight Assistance Mechanism to re-establish air freight to high-end protein markets.
  • Foodservice sales: significant drop (the extent depends on restrictions imposed by countries)
  • Retail sales: generally have increased, particularly in online channels
    Demand for lower-value red meat cuts: increased
  • Demand for high-end premium red meat cuts: reduced
    Demand for livestock exports: maintained as for many key markets this is a crucial component of their food security.
  • Impacts on MLA’s marketing activities: MLA’s marketing operations have been curtailed in all markets, particularly Asia, due to the advice against gatherings of people and the disruption to major channels, such as foodservice. MLA is working closely with the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia regarding the Australian Beef partnerships to align them with the new Games period. MLA intends to retain its Olympian and Paralympian Australian Beef Ambassadors and will continue to use these Ambassadors across 2020 and 2021 activities.