Live Export

Indo permit wait continues | T’ville exports almost 300,000 in 2014-15

James Nason, 03/07/2015

We were hoping to bring you details of third quarter permit allocations from Indonesia in today’s news email, but three days after the quarter began there is still no official word from the Indonesian Government on how many cattle it plans to import in the next three months.

Trade sources say an announcement is expected at any time, and we will bring you that news as soon as it is announced.

For the time being trade to Australia’s biggest live export market remains at a temporary standstill.

Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association president Andy Gray said the permit delays were frustrating for exporters but were also part and parcel of the challenges that came with the trade.

“It is very frustrating, it might be today, it might be tomorrow, we don’t know,” Mr Gray told Beef Central.

“But the rural industry deals with challenges and adversity all of the time.

“It would be nice if it rained when it was supposed to, and if we had a healthy market every day of the week, but that is not the case, and I think that this quota into Indonesia is just another aspect of the challenge that we deal with.”

Ongoing divisions between Indonesian’s Ministries of Trade and Agriculture over who should allocate cattle import permits are said to be behind the delay.

The Indonesian Government is made up of a ruling coalition of several parties which means that different ministries are controlled by different parties, and often political rivals.

The Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Agriculture also have contrasting aims which affects how they approach issues such as determining cattle import volumes. The Ministry of Trade is largely responsible for keeping food prices at affordable levels for consumers, which can require importing large volumes of cattle, boxed beef and other key food items to ensure supplies are adequate to satisfy demand. The Ministry of Agriculture by contrast is largely focused on protecting local farmers so traditionally opposes high volumes of imports.

Beef Central has been told that it has now been confirmed that the Ministry of Trade will release third quarter permits, and an announcement is expected at any time.

“But for quarter four there could still be changes,” one Indonesian import source told us. “It could be either ag or trade – it’s still a crystal ball mystery”.

In terms of supply, Mr Gray said some cattle were still being drawn out of north western Queensland for export from Darwin, but exporters were now focusing a lot more attention on cattle numbers available across the top end.

He said numbers would not be in over-supply and demand would push the market for the rest of the year.

The tighter supply environment has seen prices for feeder cattle ex-Darwin rise from $2.50c/kg to $2.60c/kg in the past couple of weeks.

That compares to prices of around $2.50c/kg for heavier steers to Vietnam, and $1.80 for cows.

Townsville sets new export record

Beef Central understands that cattle export volumes from the Port of Townsville for the 2014-15 have come in at a shade under 300,000 head, smashing the previous record of 201,810 cattle exported in the previous financial year.

Latest monthly figures for June of 24,905 head (still to be officially confirmed) take the overall number of exports from Townsville for 2014-15 to 297,000 head for the year.



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