Aussie beef exports slow with slaughter

07 October 2015

Influenced largely by the fall in cattle slaughter, Australian beef and veal exports slowed during September, with the monthly volume at 101,625 tonnes swt, down 14% year-on-year.

While the fall was significant, shipments above 100,000 tonnes swt remain a large export month – especially considering that before 2013, that volume had never been reached. This illustrates just how high Australian beef production and exports have been over the past two years.

The major markets followed divergent trends in September, with exports to China (11,899 tonnes swt) and Korea (13,288 tonnes swt) bucking the overall trend and increased 36% and 17% year-on-year, respectively. Shipments to the US (29,536 tonnes swt), on the other hand, were constrained by quota limitations, down 37% year-on-year, while those to Japan moderated 9%, at 24,511 tonnes swt.

The decline in Australian beef exports for September did little to slow momentum from earlier in the year with shipments for the year-to-September up 4%. Most of the growth has been dominated by the largest countries and after the first nine months, the year-on-year change has been as follows:

  • The US at 340,833 tonnes swt – up 24%
  • Japan at 211,999 tonnes swt – steady
  • Korea at 119,134 tonnes swt – up 9%
  • China 106,595 tonnes swt – up 10%

Considering a significant slow-down in slaughter is anticipated for the final quarter, as evidenced in last week’s eastern states weekly slaughter of 144,000 head, the reduction in exports seen in September is likely to continue.

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