Meat & Livestock News

Stability in Australian Meat Exports Amid Global Shifts

TL;DR: Australian beef exports surged in April 2023, diversifying significantly despite a decline to China. Sheepmeat also hit record highs, with the MENA region becoming a leading mutton market.

Beef Exports Surge

April 2023 saw Australian beef exports jump 46%, reaching 113,431 tonnes. This volume marks the highest for April since 2015 and the second highest recorded.

Major Market Growth

The United States remained the top market, with exports there increasing by 127% to 27,257 tonnes. Significant growth was also seen in smaller markets across South-East Asia and the MENA region. Exports to Thailand and Saudi Arabia more than doubled, showing substantial expansion.

China Sees a Decline

Conversely, beef exports to China fell by 11% to 14,888 tonnes. Despite this, Australia’s beef exports have diversified more than ever, with 25% now going to markets outside the top four, up from 15% in 2022.

Record-Breaking Sheepmeat Exports

Lamb and mutton exports also saw impressive increases. Lamb exports rose 41% to 31,318 tonnes, while mutton increased by 20% to 18,913 tonnes. This marks the largest April export figures on record for both.

MENA Region Dominates Mutton Exports

MENA outpaced China as the leading market for Australian mutton during the month. Exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE significantly contributed to this growth.

Market Access Developments

Brazil’s recent classification as free of foot-and-mouth disease ‘without vaccination’ could open new beef markets if approved by the World Organisation for Animal Health and importing countries. Currently, Brazil is a major beef exporter, mainly to China, and is blocked from markets like Japan and South Korea.

Australian Competitive Edge

Despite market challenges, Australia benefits from a suite of free trade agreements. These agreements give Australian beef a competitive advantage, such as a 35% tariff edge over the most favoured nation terms with South Korea by 2026, and an 18% advantage under the CPTPP with Japan