Beef exports to China climb in 2015

09 December 2015

As a result of lower Australian cattle slaughter and US quota restrictions, November saw an easing in total Australian beef and veal exports, compared to last year. However, shipments to China increased significantly – up 73% year-on-year, to 14,742 tonnes swt (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources).

China remains one of Australia’s largest export destinations for beef – sitting just behind the US, Japan, and South Korea, with volumes totalling 135,046 tonnes swt this year-to-date – an 18% increase year-on-year.

The November volume was the largest month so far in 2015, comfortably exceeding the previous high – 14,180 tonnes swt in May. 

Grey channel trade reportedly tightened in China midway through this year, and Australian exports have seen continued growth in recent months, with shipments of frozen product improving – up 7% so far in 2015, with just one month remaining.

Increased beef consignments into certain markets has provided greater awareness of Australian product around the world, however the growth of other beef exporting countries, such as Brazil, will also bring increased competition in 2016.

Consuming over 80% of their own production, and having a number of market access constraints, Brazil’s beef exports have been greatly inhibited in recent years. However, with an expanding cattle herd (200 million head) and now 11 processing plants approved in total, Brazilian beef exports to China are forecast to reach close to 200,000 tonnes swt in 2016 (valued at US$1 billion).

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