Lift in lamb exports driven by seasonal kill

05 November 2015


October lamb exports increased 14% on September, to 21,621 tonnes shipped weight (swt), driven by a 7% rise in the eastern states weekly lamb slaughter. The increase in both slaughter and exports is typical for this time of year, particularly as increased numbers of lambs are turned off throughout the south-east, and generally at heavier weights than earlier in the season.

However, lamb slaughter and exports have not been as high as 2014, especially when considering last year was a record year in both measures. October lamb exports were back 11% year-on-year, and the year-to-date volume, at just over 193,000 tonnes swt, is 2% below year-ago levels.

The year-to-October decline has largely been driven by reduced shipments to China, back 23% year-on-year, to almost 26,000 tonnes swt. This has partially been offset by a 9% increase in exports to the Middle East, to almost 58,000 tonnes swt, and a modest lift in shipments to the US, to nearly 40,000 tonnes swt.

Looking out to the rest of 2015, November and December lamb exports typically decline slightly from their peak in October. However, given many prime lamb producing regions have had a dry spring, producers may opt to offload greater numbers this side of summer, in which case exports would remain steady or continue to increase.

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