Red meat returns show resistance

22 June 2017

Despite a 12% decline in volume, the value of Australia’s red meat exports was down just 3% year-on-year for the first four months of 2017.

The volume of red meat shipped over the January to April period was 422,824 tonnes swt – down 12% from year-ago levels (DAWR). The value of these exports was close to A$3.1 billion, down 3% year-on-year but 12% higher than the five-year average (ABS).

Supporting Australia’s competitive position in the global market, the A$ has primarily traded within the mid-70US¢ range, averaging 76US¢ for the first four months of 2017.



Accounting for a 66% share of Australia’s total red meat export value, beef shipment returns for the January to April period were $2.06 billion – down 11% from the same time last year.

This decline is largely attributed to limited beef available to export, as the national cattle herd is in a rebuilding phase, as well as increasing competition from rising US beef production.

The unit price of Australian beef, however, has lifted 2% year-on-year to average $7.05/kg for the year-to-date.

Volumes to Japan generated the largest returns for Australian beef, totalling $560 million for the year-to-date. This accounted for approximately 27% of total beef export value. This was closely followed by the US at $449million, for a share of 22% of total beef export returns.


Despite lamb shipment volumes for the January to April period easing 3% year-on-year, the value increased 14%, totalling almost $651 million. This was up 38% from the five-year average. On a unit price basis, lamb averaged $7.56/kg – a rise of 17% year-on-year.

Australia’s largest lamb export destinations (US, China, Middle East) all recorded a lift in value for the first four months of 2017. Shipments to the US generated almost $210 million (up 2% year-on-year), the Middle East lifted 2% to $145 million, while values to China surged 83%, to $85 million.


Volumes of goat exports have been steadily increasing over the past 5 years. Increases in both volume and unit price have seen Australian goat export values rise 86% on the five-year average, reaching $110 million for the year-to-date.


For further trade volume and value statistics, and market insights, follow this link to the MLA website.

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