Beef exports slow in October

05 November 2015

As a result of progressively declining cattle slaughter over the past few months, and slower trade to some markets, Australian beef exports edged lower again in October.

Shipments for October were down 16% year-on-year, at 102,885 tonnes swt, however this is relative to the largest monthly beef export volume ever recorded for Australia (122,456 tonnes swt, October 2014).

While exports in October slowed relative to the same time last year, after the first ten months, Australian beef exports are 2% above last year’s record volume, at 1.08 million tonnes swt – highlighting how large volumes were earlier in the year.

Limited by quota restrictions, Australian beef exports to the US were the lowest monthly volume for the year so far, at 22,072 tonnes swt, back 48% on last October. Despite this, shipments for the year-to-October were still 14% above the previous year, at 362,905 tonnes swt, with the trade bolstered by limited US lean beef supplies and favourable currency movements.

Interestingly, Australian beef exports to Japan slowed 7% year-on-year in October, at 26,151 tonnes swt, taking volumes for the year-to-October to 238,150 tonnes swt, back slightly (1%) from last year.

Korea has been one of the strongest performing markets of 2015, with the October volume (14,696 tonnes swt) up 9% from the same month last year. After ten months, the volume shipped to Korea is also up 9%, at 133,830 tonnes swt, assisted by the weaker A$ and reduced US competition.

Similarly, Australian beef to China for October surged to 13,709 tonnes swt (up 52% year-on-year), taking the year-to-date volume to 120,304 tonnes swt – up 14% year-on-year. There has been a growing Chinese appetite for Australian beef, while at the same time the grey channel trade has reportedly tightened this year.

Australian beef to Indonesia increased considerably (27% year-on-year) for the month, at 7,537 tonnes swt, while shipments to Taiwan were steady, at 2,701 tonnes swt.

Shipments for November and December will feel the same pressure from lower cattle slaughter and limited availability of quota to the US.

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