Big November for lamb to the Middle East

03 December 2015

Australian lamb exports to the Middle East reached 5,347 tonnes shipped weight (swt) during November, just above the same time last year (5,285 tonnes swt), and the largest November on record. There was a little bit of movement between different cuts, but the largest change was in shipments to various countries. Mutton exports were much lower (down 31%, to 3,253 tonnes swt) as a result of the drop in production in Australia over the past couple of months.

The lamb trade to Bahrain has all but halted in the last two months, following the removal of government subsidies for lamb. In November, Australia exported just 80 tonnes of lamb to Bahrain, down 91% on November last year. Most shipments last year were chilled carcase, while the small volume this year was almost all frozen carcase.

The UAE remained the largest lamb market this November, with 1,912 tonnes swt, up 23% on last year. Most of the growth was in the carcase trade – chilled up 22%, to 899 tonnes swt, and frozen up 62%, to 265 tonnes swt. There was a fairly large drop in frozen mutton carcase and leg to the UAE, which brought the monthly total down 44%, to 648 tonnes swt.

The Qatar market responded positively to the increase in chilled lamb carcase availability (due to the Bahrain policy change), with chilled carcase exports jumping 56%, to 973 tonnes swt, out of a total of 1,018 tonnes swt of lamb.

There was a large drop in mutton exports to Saudi Arabia (down 39%, to 1,176 tonnes swt) – mostly in frozen carcase, which fell 55%, to 555 tonnes swt.

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