Australia’s Beef Export Growth Eases in July


The long-awaited slowdown in Australia’s chilled/frozen beef exports finally materialized to some degree in July, as exports were just steady with last year’s large volume at 121,568 metric tons (mt). Exports through the first seven months of the year were still historically large at 767,171 mt, exceeding last year’s record pace by 9 percent.

While July exports slowed for Japan (24,703 mt, -6 percent), year-over-year increases were posted for the United States (43,989 mt, +20 percent), South Korea (15,039 mt, +14 percent) and China (13,914 mt, +27 percent). After slowing in mid-2014 due to new hormone-free certification requirements, Australia’s exports to China have rebounded – exceeding 13,000 mt in each of the past five months. For January through July, exports were larger for Australia’s top four markets:

U.S. 270,075 mt +43 percent
Japan 166,517 mt +5 percent
Korea 93,825 mt +9 percent
China 82,177 mt +4 percent

Strong growth was also achieved to Canada (26,462 mt, +42 percent). Exports were lower, however, for other major destinations.

Australia’s cattle indicator price has continued to climb, this week reaching a new record average of A$5.68/kg, up 69 percent year-over-year. In U.S. dollars, prices were $1.90/lb, +33 percent year-over-year and the highest since 2011-2012. Cattle slaughter in Australia’s eastern states has dropped below year-ago levels for the past five weeks, helping drive the increase in cattle prices.

Sources: Australian Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry and Meat and Livestock Australia