March 13, 2024


Australia's beef exports rose 33% in February




Australia's expanding beef production in 2024 is reflected in February exports, which were up more than 23,000 tonnes or 33% on the same period last year.


Exports to all markets hit 93,834 tonnes, the biggest February number since the drought turnoff period in 2019 and come on top of a flying start to the year in January. Calendar year to date, Australian beef and veal exports have hit 135,680 tonnes, almost 33,000 tonnes or 32% higher than a year ago.


Volume to most large export destinations grew last month, with a couple of notable exceptions.


Trade sources said the largest frozen and chilled stocks that had built up in cold storage late last year had now largely cleared, meaning many buyers were more current in supply than they have been for some time.


Japan continued its strong start to the year, taking 23,794 tonnes of Australian beef last month. That's up 7,400 tonnes or 46% on January shipments and 7,000 tonnes or 43% higher than February last year.


The United States continues its resurgent beef trade out of Australia, that kicked in during the latter stages of 2023.


Chilled and frozen volume to the US last month reached 21,341 tonnes, more than 5% higher than January's already large figure and almost 9,500 tonnes or 80$ higher than February last year.


Declining beef production in the US after years of drought is having a sharp effect on a grinding beef supply, as fewer females go to slaughter and herd rebuilding commences. That's forcing domestic grinding beef prices higher and lifting demand for imported product out of Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.


China took third place last month among export customers, taking 15,757 tonnes, up 1,600 tonnes or 12% on January, and 3,200 tonnes or 26% higher than February last year.


South Korea's February total of 13,869 tonnes was 2,200 tonnes or 19% higher than a month earlier and 4% higher than this time last year.


Delays in access to 2024 import permits for beef to Indonesia continued to restrict February trade, but numbers are again on the rise.


February saw 2,797 tonnes of mostly frozen beef shipped to Indonesia, virtually all of it arriving after the import permits  started to circulate on February 22.


Although not fully recovered, the February shipments to Indonesia were up 2,400 tonnes on January, when trade slowed to a trickle. In comparison, February boxed beef exports last year were booming, at 6,300 tonnes.


 - Beef Central

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