Australia: Exports continue to climb

Despite an early Easter, red meat exports in March rose 9% from last year to 182,480 tonnes, making this past month the largest March in terms of exports since 2015 and the second largest on record, according to Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Posted on Apr 16 ,00:15

Australia: Exports continue to climb

Australia exported 106,574 tonnes of beef over March, 8% more than last year. The standout increase was exports to the United States, which rose by 58% year-on-year to 29,346 tonnes. Domestic production of beef in the US is continuing to decline, which is pushing the amount of beef in cold stores down and pulling imports up. 

Outside of the US, Japan was the second largest market for the month, and exports lifted 3% year-on-year to 21,007 tonnes.

Exports to China and South Korea fell by 17% and 25%, respectively, compared to March last year, but exports remained above average, and the declines were mostly due to March 2023 being an abnormally high month for both countries.

Beef exports to the United Kingdom almost quadrupled to 506 tonnes as we approach the one-year anniversary of the ratification of the A-UK Free Trade Agreement. While remaining relatively small, exports to the UK have steadily grown over the past year and are highly concentrated in higher-value product segments like chilled beef and grainfed beef.

Australian exports of lamb lifted 36% in March from 2023 levels to 30,707 tonnes. Like beef, the largest export market remained the United States, where exports lifted 50% from last year to 7,336 tonnes.

At the same time, exports to the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) saw substantial increases, rising by 47% to 6,143 tonnes. In particular, exports doubled to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which rose to 977 tonnes and 931 tonnes, respectively. Strong economic performance in Gulf countries, alongside a rapidly developing foodservice sector, continues to drive lamb exports into the MENA region.

Australian lamb exports are now making up more of global trade than ever before. Strong results in 2024 suggest that this will not let up anytime soon.

Mutton exports fell by 6% from March 2023 to 20,263 tonnes. While China remained the largest market, exports fell by 37% from last year to 5,990 tonnes. Outside of China, exports generally lifted, especially to the MENA region, where exports rose by 49% to 5,075 tonnes. In particular, exports to Saudi Arabia rose by 105% to 2,058 tonnes, which is the single biggest month since March 2015.

Exports of goat lifted by 5% from March last year to 3,643 tonnes. This was largely driven by exports to the United States, which lifted 73% year-on-year to 2,062 tonnes, or 57% of total exports. Outside of the US, exports to South Korea rose by 32% to 679 tonnes and exports to Taiwan fell by 27% from last year to 220 tonnes.

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