Tighter supplies see 2015-16 mutton exports contract

07 July 2016

For the 2015-16 fiscal year, Australian mutton exports reached 147,889 tonnes swt –  a 13% decline from the historically high volume in 2014-2015, driven by high Australian mutton production. Compared to the five-year (2010-11 to 2014-15) average, 2015-16 shipments were up 19% (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources).

Despite frozen product (142,340 tonnes swt) accounting for the majority of shipments in 2015-16, frozen mutton exports were down 15%, while, encouragingly, chilled volumes recorded an 88% lift year-on-year, to 5,529 tonnes swt.

Largely underpinning the contraction in exports was the decline in Australian mutton production during the year, with the financial year-to-April total (latest data available) back 8% from the corresponding period in 2014-15, at 175,736 tonnes cwt (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Mutton production is anticipated to tighten further over the winter months, in line with the historical seasonal trend.

Shipments to most of Australia’s major mutton export markets decreased from year-ago levels;

  • 12,718 tonnes swt). Chilled volumes to the Middle East more than doubled in 2015-16, to 5,007 tonnes swt, while frozen mutton exports fell 13%, to 43,533 tonnes swt.
  • Shipments to China eased 39%, to 25,114 tonnes swt – all of which was frozen.
  • Volumes to Malaysia, consisting entirely of frozen product, dropped 7%, to 14,907 tonnes swt.
  • Shipments to the US, however, increased 18% to 13,810 tonnes swt. Almost all shipments to the US are frozen mutton.

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