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Exports strong, with China on top

10 October 2019

Beef exports continue to track strongly, with September another solid month at 105,000 tonnes swt, which equates to a year-on-year improvement of 15%. This is the largest monthly increase seen this year. China was again the top destination, reaching 28,500 tonnes swt for the month, its largest ever month. China’s total shipments for the year-to-September now exceed 200,000 tonnes swt, up 73% on last year.

While the growth in China has been the major headline for the past few months, exports to the US are still holding strong, with year-to-September volumes sitting at 187,000 tonnes swt, representing year-on-year growth of 4%.

Despite having dipped slightly on 2018 figures (down 7% to 217,000 tonnes for the year-to-September), Japan is still been the top market for Australian beef for 2019, and is also an important buyer of grain and chilled beef.

With only three months left in the year, it is hard to imagine China chasing down Japan to claim the top destination by volume for the year. However, with the Chinese looking to bolster storage supplies leading into their New Year celebrations, the final totals could be very close.


Exports for sheepmeat are also doing well, with 35,000 tonnes shipped in September, up slightly on last year but level when considering the number of workdays. Off the back of a monster month, China now commands a 30% share of Australian sheepmeat exports; just two years ago their share was just 18%. Aside from the US and Indonesia (who have expanded by 3% and 20% respectively), the majority of markets are down on 2018 figures and are possibly feeling the pinch from the heightened levels of international demand and competition for product.

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2019

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