September 8, 2011


Emerging markets support Australia's beef exports



Strong beef export growth to South Korea alongside emerging and smaller markets has sustained Australia's beef shipments in August.


Exports for the month were steady on-year, at 81,663 tonnes, as trade conditions with Australia's two largest markets, Japan and the US remained very tough.


The continuation of sluggish consumer demand in Japan, combined with increased competition from US beef contributed to Australian shipments for August falling 5% on-year, to 29,904 tonnes. For the first eight months of 2011, Australian exports to Japan contracted 7% on the same period last year - a combination of well documented demand issues, but also significant supply issues, including flooding earlier in the year and reduced processing rates throughout the winter months.


The high Australian dollar, strong competition from other markets for manufacturing beef and tight cow beef supplies continue to impact volumes to the US, with exports for August declining 21% on-year, to 13,929 tonnes. For the year to date, shipments to the US were down 23% on last year - which was also a very low year for Australian exports to the US.


One of the stand-out markets for Australian beef continues to be Korea, with exports for August increasing 14% on-year, to 12,202 tonnes. While Australian exports have faced significantly higher competition and imports from the US during 2011, exports to Korea for January to August were up 20% on-year, to 97,069 tonnes.


Helping to offset the decline in shipments to Japan and the US in August was increased volumes to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), namely Russia - up 66% on last year, to 5,346 tonnes. Exports were also higher to the Middle East (up 14%, to 2,584 tonnes), Taiwan (up 52%, to 3,107 tonnes) and the EU (up 48%, to 1,225 tonnes).

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