Aussie beef exports to SE Asia drops
Prolonged restrictions and closures in foodservice outlets, corresponding with tight domestic cattle supplies, have seen subdued beef trade volumes for the start of the year in South East Asia, reports Meat and Livestock Australia. Total beef exports into South-East Asia (SEA) eased 25% year-on-year for the month of February.
A major shock comes from Malaysia, a country where Australian beef exporters are seeing a fall of 68% year-on-year for the first two months of 2021. There is a limited number of approved Australian beef suppliers to Malaysia as the market maintains a strict importation regime. Supplier limitation and the current supply shortage in Australia are the primary catalysts for subdued volumes in general. The sharp decline in boxed beef exports into Malaysia has also been exacerbated by a strong Australian dollar.
The heightened number of Australian grass-fed cattle being retained for restocking purposes has resulted in a modest increase in exports for grain-fed beef, especially chilled, which has lifted 22% in the 12 months to February.
Exports to Indonesia followed similar trends, contracting 21% for January and February compared to last year. Ongoing financial uncertainty and social restrictions on food service, public events and catering, have put downwards pressure on beef exports, with importers wanting to avoid surplus inventory. However, despite a year-on-year decline in total exports, volumes have seen a steady increase since November, when COVID-19 related restrictions started to ease in Indonesia.
Total volumes for the first two months of the year remained steady on year-ago levels in Singapore and Vietnam. More households have chosen to consume home-cooked meals as opposed to dining out, which has helped mitigate further losses in the foodservice sector for Australian beef exports. Boxed beef exports to Vietnam for the months of January and February saw a marginal lift of 4% on year-ago levels, while export levels to Singapore moved sideways.