Competitive pressure builds for Australian beef exports to China in 2016

05 May 2016

The 2016 year-to-date (Jan-Apr) volume of Australian frozen grassfed beef (which accounts for the majority of Australian beef to China) exported to China saw a drop compared to 2015, but there were increases in other categories.

  • Australian total beef exports to China for the first four months (Jan-Apr) of 2016 were down 26% compared to 2015, totalling 31,096 tonnes swt.


  • Compared to the first four months of 2015, Australia has exported more manufacturing beef and shin/shank to China in 2016, as well as more chuck, thin flank and short ribs but less carcase, silverside/outside, brisket and thick flank.


  • On the demand side, China’s direct beef imports for the first quarter of 2016 (January to March) were up 90% on 2015, totalling 138,956 tonnes swt (Source: China Customs).
  • A significant intake of frozen beef from Brazil has had a large impact in the market since it re-gained access mid-2015, making Brazil China’s largest imported beef supplier, with a 33% share from January to March, up from zero in the first quarter of 2015. Australia remains China’s second largest direct supplier (21% share) but Uruguay is a very close third (20% share).
  • China has also imported significantly larger volumes of frozen beef in 2016 compared to the first quarter of 2015 from several other suppliers such as Uruguay (+24%), New Zealand (+59%) and Canada (+311%).


  • Wholesale beef prices in China remain high but quite steady – at week 16 of 2016 the price was 53.3 yuan per kg (Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China).

Bovine Offal

  • Australia’s bovine offal export volume to China so far in 2016 is farly steady on last year, with 1,368 tonnes swt exported from January to April. 
  • However, there have been some changes in the types of offal cuts exported, with heart volume down (-33%) but other cuts such as tendon, kidney and tail up (+42% collectively). 

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