Beef was Australia’s eleventh largest export commodity in value terms in 2011, and Australia’s second largest agricultural export behind wheat.
The statistics are contained in the 2011 Composition of Australian Trade report released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Australian beef exports were valued at $4.68 billion in 2011, close to 5pc below the $4.9b value achieved in 2008, according to the DFAT data.
The principal destinations for Australian beef 2011 were Japan ($1.65b); the Republic of Korea ($773m); the United States ($743m); the Russian Federation ($229m) and Taiwan ($196m).
The report underscores the diversification that has occurred in Australia’s export markets since 2007, and the significant increases that have been achieve in exports to smaller markets as Australian exporters have sought to offset the decreases in the big three of Japan, the US and Korea.
Among the largest increases recorded in export value in the five years from 2007 to 2011 were Europe (from $104m in 2007 to $376m in 2011), Taiwan ($121m to $196m), Russia ($38m to $229m), Indonesia ($91m to $170m); Chile ($0 to $81.2m); Hong Kong ($31m to $71m); Singapore ($40.4m to $70.1m); Malaysia ($20.9m to $60m); Philippines ($12.3m to $71.7); United Arab Emirates ($21m to $48m); Jordan ($1.3m to $23.8m); Papua New Guinea ($8.6m to $20.5m); Saudi Arabia ($3.5m to $19.6m); Kuwait ($3.2m to $16.1m); Lebanon ($1.5m to $15.6m); Qatar ($7.3m to $15.2m); South Africa ($4.5m to $14.9m); Brazil (from $886k to $12.2m); Egypt ($2.8m to $9.9m); and Morocco ($270k to $6.9m).
Markets in which Australian exports have lost ground in the same period have included Japan (from $1.9b in 2007 to $1.6b in 2011); United States $1.1b to $743m) Korea ($803m to $773m) and Canada ($51.5m to $40.8).
Australia’s top 10 overall exports by value were iron ore and concentrates ($64b); coal ($46b); gold ($15.9b); education-related travel services ($15.1b); personal travel services ($11.7b); crude petroleum
($11.4b); natural gas ($11b); wheat ($6b); aluminium ores and concentrates ($5.4b) and copper ores and concentrates ($5.4b).
Total exports increased by 10.2pc in 2011 to $313.3b.
The report also shows that Australia’s total food imports have increased from $2.9 billion 20 years ago to $10.6 billion in real terms today, with an average annual growth rate of 5.2pc.