January 8, 2015
Australian beef exports hit a record 1.287 million tonnes in 2014
2014 proved to be a bumper year for Australia's beef and veal sector as exports reached a record high of over 1.287 million tonnes, or 17% higher than the previous record set in 2013 of just less than 1.1 million tonnes.
The dramatic rise in beef output is attributed to strong world demand and the drought across the eastern half of Australia-including large parts of Queensland, the nation's largest beef-producing state- that led to unprecedented rates of slaughter.
Australia's largest export market was the US, which took 397,889 tonnes, just short of the all-time record of over 398,000 tonnes set in 2001. The figure also represents a dramatic 87% rise from the previous year.
No. 2 importer was Japan with 293,778 tonnes, a 2% rise over the previous year, but short of the past five-year average of 330,000 tonnes.
Korea was Australia's third-largest beef market, which took 150,918 tonnes of chilled and frozen beef in 2014. The volume was 5% higher than that of the previous year and the highest since 2006. It was also the second-highest on record.
Exports to fourth-ranking China suffered a 19% reduction from the previous year, which totalled only 124,585 tonnes.
The Middle East's beef imports from Australia last year totalled 59,717 tonnes, just marginally below the record set in the previous year, while the EU took 24,524 tonnes, which was 24% higher than in 2013, as the enlarged EU grain-fed beef quota provided more opportunity for Australian exports.
Other significant markets for Australian beef last year included Indonesia, which imported 53,140 tonnes (35% higher than the previous year); Taiwan, which took 36,400 tonnes ( a slight improvement over the previous year); the Philippines, with almost 34,400 tonnes (27% higher than in 2013); and Canada, which took almost 33,000 tonnes (around 100% higher than the 2013 imports).
Malaysia's imports eased a little to 13,105 tonnes.
Central and South American markets took 7,466 tonnes (mostly picanha/rump caps and other specialised in-demand cuts), down 2,000 tonnes from last year.
Russia and the former CIS states proved to be an insignificant export destination for Australian beef, accounting for only 2,087 tonnes last year. The figure represents a decline of 28,000 tonnes compared with the previous year. Trade sanctions in connection with Russia's invasion of the Ukraine was partly to blame. In contrast, Russian imports of Australian beef hovered above 60,000 tonnes in 2010 and 2011.