Lamb moves in May

06 June 2017

After several short trading weeks in April, and a consequent reduction in supplies, lamb availability for export bounced back in May. In fact, Australian lamb exports in May were the largest monthly volume shipped so far this year. Shipments reached almost 22,100 tonnes swt – up 2% on the same period last year (DAWR).

This brought the total consignments for the year-to-date to just over 102,800 tonnes swt. While this was a slight decline (2%) from the corresponding five months in 2016, it remains 14% above the five-year average.

Reduced lamb availability has contributed to the lower shipments for the year-to-date. Eastern states lamb slaughter over the January to May period averaged almost 345,000 head per week – 7% lower than year-ago levels.

There were mixed trends across Australia’s major lamb export destinations for the year-to-May, compared to last year:

  • The Middle East declined 11%, to 24,800 tonnes swt
  • The US was down 9%, to 22,000 tonnes swt
  • China increased 26%, to 21,150 tonnes swt
  • Korea surged 77%, to 5,850 tonnes swt
  • The EU lifted 1% to 4,300 tonnes swt

For more detailed export data, view MLA’s trade statistics summary for May here.

The value of Australian lamb exports has registered growth in 2017. For the January to March period (latest available data), lamb shipments returned a total of A$490 million – up 13% year-on-year (ABS). The average unit value increased 14% over the same time frame, to $7.39/kg.

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