Australian beef exports in August totalled almost 99,000 tonnes shipped weight (swt) – a 22 percent increase year-on-year, according to Meat & Livestock Australia.
The lift was underpinned by higher year-on-year eastern states cattle slaughter, as well as heavier average carcase weights – largely the result of record numbers of cattle on feed.
The effects of consecutive quarters (March and June) with record numbers on feed (both in excess of one million head) are now being realised within export markets.
Grainfed beef exports in August totalled 26,388 tonnes swt – the highest monthly export volume of grainfed beef since MLA’s records began.
Total beef exports for the calendar year-to-date now stand at 665,000 tonnes swt, a decline of 4% year-on-year. MLA’s latest forecasts are for 2017 beef shipment volumes to be on par with 2016 levels.
Japan continues to lead the way as Australia’s largest beef export market, with volumes just above 29,000 tonnes swt in August – up 23% from year-ago levels. Despite growing competition from the US, beef shipments to Japan remain robust, supported by Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA). The US, Australia’s key competitor in supplying the Japanese market, as at the 1st August occurs a 50% tariff on frozen beef exported to Japan until March 2018.
Shipments to the US in August totalled 25,500 tonnes swt – a 51% increase year-on-year, albeit off a low base the year prior. Recovering Australian supplies has in turn increased the availability of manufacturing product (used for American hamburgers) for export to the US, to just under 17,000 tonnes swt for the month. However, exports to the US continue to be challenged by rising US beef production and a stronger Australian dollar.
Exports to Korea declined 6% year-on-year, to 13,500 tonnes swt. Increasing US production, and therefore growing export presence, continues to challenge Australia’s market share in Korea. However, grainfed exports lifted 18% year-on-year, to 5,500 tonnes swt.
Beef exports to China in August declined 20% year-on-year, to just above 6,500 tonnes swt. The decline comes following six consecutive months of growth for Australian beef exports to China – the result of the Chinese government temporarily banning beef imports from six Australian processors in late July.
In other markets in August, shipments to the EU lifted 28% year-on-year, to 2,000 tonnes swt, while there were also year-on-year increases recorded for Indonesia (5,300 tonnes swt) and Philippines (4,300 tonnes swt).