December 6, 2011


Australian beef exports attain three year high



Australian beef and veal exports achieved their highest level since October 2008 in November, totalling 89,747 tonnes due to increased beef availability early in the month, lower Australian dollar, and improved exports to Japan and the US, says US DAFF.


While exports were up 1.3% on-year, it was the largest monthly volume since October 2008's 93,872 tonnes, and took exports for the first 11 months of 2011 to 867,140 tonnes, 3% above the same period in 2010.


Assisting the higher volume for November was a rapid start to the month, which was made possible by increased beef production in late October and into the first week of November. Indeed, after the first 10 days of November, exports were on track to be one of the highest months on record (the highest monthly total on record was set in November 2006 at 94,653 tonnes). However, a gradual reduction in available cattle throughout the final three weeks of November curtailed any prospects of a record month, with the recent rain likely to further impact available beef supplies during December.


Shipments to Japan, at 33,519 tonnes, was the highest Australian monthly volume since the corresponding period last year (36,050 tonnes), and almost equivalent to the November average for the past five years. Steady demand from the fast food and processing sectors again underpinned demand for frozen grass fed beef (17,245 tonnes), which increased 5% on-year. While the lower Australian dollar may have assisted demand for chilled grain fed beef during November, with volumes increasing 17% on the previous month to 9,099 tonnes, shipments were still down 5% on-year.


Like October, November registered a large on-year increase in volumes to the US, but off an extremely low base. Exports for November increased 80% last year, to 16,711 tonnes- but were still 16% below the five-year average.


Korea, Taiwan and the Middle East continued their stronger 2011, with exports for November up 4%, 22% and 19%, respectively, over the same period last year. Shipments to Korea for 2011 were up 20% on-year, and with one month remaining, could exceed 140,000 tonnes for only the third year on record.

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