Large drop in beef exports to the US during September

08 October 2015

The beginning of a slowdown in Australian cattle slaughter and the triggering of Australia’s US beef quota management resulted in a significant decline in beef exports to the US during September. Australia’s beef exports to the US dropped below 30,000 tonnes shipped weight (swt) for the first month since April 2014 (with the exception of January, which is always a month of low shipments).

Australia exported 29,536 tonnes swt of beef to the US during September, a 37% fall on the same month last year. The majority of the decline was in manufacturing beef, which fell 47%, to 18,211 tonnes swt. In contrast, a number of higher value cuts, including rump, cube roll, and striploin, recorded increases in volume, while the decline in tenderloin was limited to 5%. This suggests that Australian exporters are focussing on shipping higher value beef cuts within quota, so that if product is subject to the 21.12% tariff, it will generally be cheaper beef.

For the year-to-date, Australia has exported 340,833 tonnes swt, 24% more than the first nine months of 2014. However, when shipments from late 2014 with 2015 quota certificates are taken into account, Australian exporters had utilised 92%, or 385,386 tonnes swt, of quota (which is allocated by the Australian Department of Agriculture), as at 28 August. Exports to be shipped under the 2016 quota could begin in early November, and be held in bond at US ports to clear customs from 1 January 2016.

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