Canada beef trade lifts in 2015

28 October 2015

With much of the focus of the global beef trade in 2015 being driven by the US cattle and beef markets, another large North American market, Canada, has also felt the influence. Not only have Australian beef exports to Canada raced ahead this year, but Canadian exports have also seen significant growth to a number of markets.

Canadian beef exports this year-to-date have totalled 176,111 tonnes swt – up 2% on year-ago levels. With 79% of shipments destined for the US (a higher proportion than in the past few years), beef exports into other major markets have increased. Demand from China has resulted in volumes doubling year-on-year, to 11,497 tonnes swt – accounting for a 6% share of Canada’s beef exports.

More related to Australian beef producers is the pattern of trade to the Philippines in 2015. Australian beef exports to the Philippines have increased in value to an average of $4.52/kg FOB this year, while the volume has declined 33% year-on-year, to 17,723 tonnes swt for the year-to September period (ABS, DA). In contrast, there has been a 35% increase in Canadian beef exports to the Philippines so far this year, to 291 tonnes swt.

A large contributor to this type of swing in trade volumes is the relative demand for different types of beef products in different markets. US buyers have been paying much higher prices than in the past for lean manufacturing beef, which has drawn Australian product away from the Philippines, creating some space for Canadian traders.

The high integration in beef supplies and prices across North America, combined with a lower A$, suggests that Australian exporters will remain in relatively good position moving forward, as market conditions in the US continue to recover after the recent price declines, and into the 2016 quota year.

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