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Export volumes persist

09 May 2019

Australian beef exports in April reflected the elevated pace of cattle slaughter, as shipments totalled 98,648 tonnes shipped weight (swt), up 12% on the year prior. The total volume is all the more impressive considering the Easter and ANZAC day public holidays both fell in April this year. In turn, this may have a greater impact on May exports, due to the holiday shutdown occurring late in the month.

Exports to China continue to run red hot, lifting 62% year-on-year, to 20,600 tonnes swt in April. While the impact of African Swine Fever has grabbed most of the headlines, exports to China have been edging higher for a number of years, largely reflecting demand growth from wealthy households for premium imported meat.

Exports to Japan totalled 22,100 tonnes swt in April, back 19% year-on-year. Shipments of US beef have applied some pressure to exports this year, however preferential trade access and a consumer preference for Australian beef continues to support trade to Australia’s largest export market. As of April 1, new tariff measures came into effect under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11). Under TPP-11, the tariff on chilled beef now stands at 26.6%, a reduction from the 28.8% under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA). The TPP-11 frozen beef tariff in Year 1 has been matched to the prevailing JAEPA tariff, at 26.6%, but will be lower than the JAEPA tariff from April 2020.

Shipments to the US lifted 12% year-on-year, to 21,600 tonnes swt. Demand for grinding beef in the US has been excellent and record levels of beef production have supported domestic consumption. Despite a shift to chilled-only burger menu items by a number of foodservice outlets, imported frozen grinding beef remains an essential component of the manufacturing process in the US.

Beef exports to Korea totalled 14,650 tonnes swt, up 27% year-on-year. Despite the upturn in US production and robust competition, exports have started the year strongly, reinforcing the strong reputation of Australian beef in Korea.

For the calendar year-to-April, Australian beef exports to:

  • Japan eased 7%, to 87,800 tonnes swt
  • US increased 15%, to 79,500 tonnes swt
  • China lifted 66%, to 72,500 tonnes swt
  • Korea increased 13%, to 53,000 tonnes swt
  • Indonesia increased 17%, to 19,000 tonnes swt

Lamb and mutton exports

Australian lamb exports in April were the second highest on record at just over 27,500 tonnes shipped weight (swt), up 22% year-on-year. Shipments to the US and China, two of the largest markets for Australian lamb, increased 23% and 58% year-on-year, respectively, to 5,400 tonnes swt and 6,700 tonnes swt. This was predominantly a result of increased Australian supply, particularly of old season heavy lambs, as dry conditions across key lamb producing areas incentivised turn off.

Australian mutton exports for April totalled just over 14,700 tonnes swt, up 27% from last year. Similar to lamb, April sheepmeat exports to China more than doubled year-on-year, to just over 5,600 tonnes swt.

Beef offal exports

On the back of higher cattle slaughter, Australian beef offal exports lifted 15% in April from year-ago levels, totalling 14,450 tonnes swt.

Beef offal exports to Indonesia lifted 48% year-on-year, to a record 3,482 tonnes swt. This largely consisted of tongue root, lifting 32% on the year prior to 1,114 tonnes swt. Liver shipments more than doubled, at 629 tonnes swt, while heart shipments increased 24%, to 475 tonnes swt.

April beef offal volumes to Korea increased 16% year-on-year, to 2,627 tonnes swt, and exports to Japan followed a similar trend, up 8% compared at 2,158 tonnes swt.  Shipments to Hong Kong eased 14% to 1,562 tonnes swt.

Click here to view the latest export statistics