August 4, 2005


Australian beef exports face greater global competition


Australian beef exports are facing greater competition in light of the possible re-entry of

US and Canadian beef into the Japanese and South Korean markets, according to industry reports.


Agribusiness banking specialist, Rabobank, said the impact of drought conditions on domestic beef supply and increasing competition from South American beef exports, also presented challenges in addition to maintaining Australia's disease-free status.


Other concerns were the strength of the Australian dollar and the recent re-opening of the US border to Canadian cattle.


Rabobank said that while it was still unclear when Japan and South Korea would lift their bans on US and Canadian beef, their aggressive re-entry to those beef markets would put downward pressure on Australian cattle prices.


Also, Australia's beef industry was expected to face greater competition in the US lean beef market particularly from Canada and Uruguay, and potentially from Brazil and Argentina in the longer term.


Brazil, which is currently the world's largest beef exporter by volume, was also starting to challenge Australia's position in a number of export markets.


Rabobank also said that continued investment in animal traceability and food safety systems would be critical to Australia's ability to maintain its global beef competitiveness.


In 2004, Australia's beef export volume rose nine percent to 914,000 tonnes in shipped weight and 28 percent in value to AUD4.6 billion, according to Rabobank. Export growth has continued this year, with total Australian beef exports from January to May up 8.4 percent.

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