March 9, 2004


Australian Live Cattle Exports Fall In January


Australian exports of both live sheep and live cattle fell significantly in January as a result of weak export markets, figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have revealed.


According to the ABS, live cattle exports for January fell 30% on last year, to 53,700 head, with exports to Indonesia (28,200 head), Malaysia (2,950 head) and the Philippines (2,7800 head) all declining.  Demand for Australian cattle in many South East Asian markets continues to be affected by the strengthening A$, with the associated increase in prices making Australian cattle less price competitive against rival products.


While exports to larger, more established markets declined in January, demand for Australian cattle in China continues to grow, with exports for January totalling a record 9,883 head, an increase of 4% on the previous record set one month earlier.


Australian live sheep exports for January plummeted 62% on last year to just below 363,000 head, as the suspension of the trade with Saudi Arabia, high domestic sheep prices and the strong A$ pushed exports to their lowest January level since 1991.


Given the absence of exports to Saudi Arabia, which in January 2003 took 672,000 sheep, Jordan and Kuwait received the majority of Australian sheep during January 2004, 178,000 head and 94,400 head, respectively.


Exports to Bahrain for January fell 63% on last year, to only 15,000 head, and exports to Oman and Qatar fell 45% and 51% respectively.

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