July 19, 2013


Australia's grain-fed beef exports to China, EU up 2% on-year



For the 2012-13 financial year, Australia's grain-fed beef exports to the EU and China have reach 198,158 tonnes shipped weight, up 2% on-year.


Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) reports while shipments were up on-year, exports were down 5% on the five-year average, underpinned by continued sluggish trading conditions with Japan.


Grain-fed shipments to Japan totalled 121,400 tonnes for 2012-13, down 6% on-year and the lowest total since 2002-03 when 111,171 tonnes was shipped.

Subdued demand, improved US market access and the weakening yen challenged trade for Australia to Japan, according to MLA.


Manufacturing beef has traditionally made up the largest volume of grain-fed shipments to Japan, and this continued in 2012-13 at 28,127 tonnes, up 4% on-year.


However brisket (17,727 tonnes), chuck roll (11,749 tonnes) and blade (11,034 tonnes) shipments, were down 8%, 5%, and 10%, respectively, on-year.


Despite shipments to Japan being sluggish over the past few years, it comfortably remains Australia's largest grain-fed beef export market, MLA reports.


While Australian grass-fed beef shipments to Korea have surged over the past 12 months, grain-fed beef exports were down 1% on-year, and 4% on the five-year average, at 31,909 tonnes.


Blade (5136 tonnes) and chuck roll (4726 tonnes) volumes were up 2% and 9%, on-year, respectively, while grain-fed shin/shank volumes surged 27% over the same period, to 2,469 tonnes, as Korea looked to secure cheaper cuts.


At the higher valued end of the spectrum, grain-fed short ribs (979 tonnes) and cube roll (888 tonnes) shipments were back 29% and 34% on-year, respectively. Records continue to be broken into China, with 2012-13 grain-fed beef shipments reaching 10,507 tonnes, up 429% on-year.


Brisket shipments at 2,034 tonnes were up significantly from the 125 tonnes exported in 2011-12, while shin/shank volumes at 1,214 tonnes were up substantially from the 80 tonnes sent in the previous year, increasing competition for Taiwanese buyers.


Improved market access into the EU, along with reduced competition from the US, assisted Australian grain-fed beef shipments to the EU, with volumes up 82% on-year during 2012-13, to 8,724 tonnes. Silverside/outside (1,191 tonnes) and topside/inside (1,156 tonnes) were the greatest contributing cuts, up 70% and 63% on-year.


Shipments of two of the highest valued cuts, cube roll (489 tonnes) and tenderloin (317 tonnes), were up 78% and 76% on-year, respectively, highlighting the importance of the improved access for Australian grain-fed beef.