Meat & Livestock News

Australian Goat Meat Exports Surge to Record Levels, Shaping Global Market Dynamics

TL;DR: In 2023, Australian goat meat exports soared, reaching the second-highest volume since 2014 and significantly influencing global markets. Prices dropped, yet Australia dominated key markets, notably surpassing New Zealand in China.

In 2023, Australian goat meat witnessed a significant upturn in exports, hitting the second-highest annual volume since 2014, with a whopping 33,891 tonnes shipped worldwide. This boost in exports has notably impacted the global sheep meat market, particularly affecting New Zealand, Australia’s closest competitor, by capturing over 50% of the worldwide goat meat trade for the first time.

Despite the surge in volumes shipped, the financial returns from these exports saw a downturn, a reflection of the drop in export prices from a high of over $12/kg to below $7/kg within the last 18 months. Consequently, the total value of goat meat exports for the year stood at A$237.5 million, a dip from the A$261 million recorded in 2022.

The United States, China, and South Korea emerged as the primary importers of Australian goat meat, with China showing a remarkable increase in import volumes, hence surpassing South Korea to become Australia’s second largest goat meat market. Notably, nearly all the uptick in China’s imports were supplied by Australia, with a 43% increase amounting to 197,448 tonnes, thereby lifting Australia’s market share to an unprecedented 46%.

This rise in market share was accompanied by a significant shift in export pricing dynamics. Historically, New Zealand lamb enjoyed a $1-$1.30/kg premium over Australian lamb in China. However, since around 2022, this price advantage has largely vanished, with both countries’ products now competing closely on price, mainly influenced by exchange rate fluctuations.

Furthermore, markets like Trinidad and Tobago, along with Malaysia and New Zealand, have also ramped up their imports from Australia, showcasing the widespread acceptance of Australian goat meat. For instance, exports to Trinidad and Tobago leapt to 1,697 swt in 2023, up from 976 swt in the preceding year.

This landscape shift suggests that Australia’s strategic pricing and increased production have begun to reshape the global goat meat market dynamics, providing both challenges and opportunities for traditional and emerging markets alike.