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Aussie Beef Exports Contract in October

04 November 2009
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - Australian beef and veal exports during October contracted 15 per cent year-on-year, as weak export demand and prices to the US and Japan were compounded by the stronger Australian dollar.

Processors continued with scaled back operations as the supply of suitable cattle remained tight. Exports for the month totalled 79,521 tonnes swt, with shipments back to the US, Korea and Russia, while a record volume of beef was shipped to Indonesia (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry).

While Australian beef shipments to Japan in October reached 31,097 tonnes swt – up two per cent year-on-year, they were seven per cent below the five-year average for October.

Sluggish consumer demand in Japan, combined with the higher A$, has resulted in prices for Australian beef being well below the corresponding period last year – squeezing Australian exporter margins. For October, indicative chilled grassfed fullest prices in Australian dollar terms averaged 19 per cent lower year-on-year, while shortfed fullest prices were down 23 per cent.

For January to October, Australian beef and veal exports to Japan were back two per cent year-on-year, at just above 300,000 tonnes swt.

Exports to the US in October contracted significantly on the same period last year, to 16,187 tonnes swt – 42 per cent below the corresponding period last year and the five year average. The combination of reduced demand and prices, with the higher A$, had Australian exporters looking towards other markets, with Australian 90CL manufacturing beef prices averaging 30 per cent lower year-on-year, during October.

While exports to Korea for October were back 19 per cent year-on-year, it was the fifth consecutive month shipments had surpassed 10,000 tonnes swt. Exports to Korea for the first 10 months of 2009 were at 92,819 tonne swt – 11 per cent below the corresponding period last year.

The bright spot for Australian beef exports continues to be Indonesia, with the 6,095 tonnes shipped during October smashing the previous monthly record set only three months earlier in July (4,648 tonnes swt). Reportedly, Indonesian demand for Australian manufacturing beef has been very strong in recent months, which has assisted exports for the first 10 months of 2009 in excess of 40,000 tonnes swt, easily surpassing the 33,019 tonnes swt sent during the past calendar year.

Other markets to shine during October included the Philippines, which recorded 2,626 tonnes swt of Australian beef – the highest monthly total in 12 years. Exports to China and Hong Kong were also well above the same period last year, with the two markets already having taken 9,900 tonnes swt of Australian beef in 2009 – up 154 per cent on last year.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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