September mutton exports decline amid tighter supply

18 October 2016

During September Australia exported 10,658 tonnes swt of mutton, back 15% year-on-year, while for the year-to-September (97,563 tonnes swt) shipments are down just 9% - bolstered by higher trade earlier in the year.

Underpinning the overall decline though was Australian mutton slaughter tracking below year-ago levels, with the year-to-August slaughter down 24%.

Accounting for most of the September decline was a 19% drop in shipments to China, Australia’s largest mutton export destination, to 1,587 tonnes swt, while year-to-September totals eased to 24% from year-ago levels. However, while mutton shipments have been lower, Australian lamb to China over the same time period has more than offset the mutton decline, and total sheepmeat exports are actually up 1% year-on-year, at 43,235 tonnes swt, assisted by lower volumes in cold store compared to the previous year.

Mutton exports into the Middle East also declined. Volumes to Saudi Arabia for the month declined 31%, totalling 751 tonnes swt and are 34% below year-to-date shipment in 2015. September exports to the UAE saw a 16% decrease (588 tonnes swt), however year-to-September volumes were less affected, back 2% year-on-year. On the other hand, with trade having resumed to Bahrain, 629 tonnes swt were shipped during September, taking the total for 2016 thus far to 5,972 tonnes swt.

In contrast, Malaysia and Singapore both saw an increase in exports during September, up 7% (1,340 tonnes swt) and 16% (927 tonnes swt), respectively. Volumes to Singapore for the year-to-September period improved 7% on last year while those to Malaysia were marginally lower (back 1%).

 Mutton shipments during September predominantly consisted of carcases, which made up 43% of exports (4,594 tonnes swt). Carcase exports lifted 2% from September last year – mostly as a result of the resumed trade to Bahrain.

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