Australia's meat export suffers under credit crunch
The real damage from the global financial crisis might just be starting to hit agribusiness, with beef and lamb exports starting to pile up at some international ports because importers cannot afford to pay.
Stories are trickling back to Australia of importers being refused credit and reluctantly reneging on contracts, leaving tonnes of mostly perishable goods stranded in countries like Russia, South Africa, China, India, Italy and the Middle East, reports TheLand.
According to the news agency, farmers are being told the fundamentals for agriculture are still strong because food demand and a lower Australian dollar should help keep the sector buoyant during this turmoil.
Yet credit freezes and a slump in consumer confidence overseas could affect key rural commodities in the next few months, leaving exporters and farmers suffering major losses.
Weakening export demand is partly behind a price fall in cattle prices which are now down 10 to 15 per cent from their peaks in September, with the benchmark Eastern Young Cattle Indicator falling from US $3.62 a kilogramme (carcass weight) at the start of last month to US$3.26 / kilogramme yesterday, Thursday, 6 November 2008.