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Australian Beef Exports to China Reach New Highs

15 March 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

Australian beef and veal exports to China during February continued to skyrocket, totalling 11,866 tonnes swt during the month and surpassing Korea as the third largest single export destination for Australian beef (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry).

The huge February volume contributed to total beef exports to China for the first two months of 2013 already reaching half of the 2012 total write market analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia.

While the majority of product shipped to China during February was frozen grassfed (9,055 tonnes swt), grainfed exports during the month also lifted, from 93 tonnes swt in February 2012 to 1,617 tonnes swt .

China has started taking a wider range of cuts in recent months, with a falling proportion of manufacturing beef exports (although still at significant – and growing – volumes). Manufacturing beef exports during February accounted for 8% of overall exports (1,005 tonnes swt), while in February 2008, more than half (55% or 109 tonnes swt) shipped to China was manufacturing beef.

In February, demand for brisket (2,109 tonnes swt) and shin/shank (1,719 tonnes swt) remained strong, with silverside/outside also rising to 1,525 tonnes swt, from only 6 tonnes swt in Februarylast year.

Similarly, blade, chuck roll and topside/inside exports improved during February. While blade exports have shown a constant year-on-year growth in recent months, with February exports totalling 899 tonnes swt (from just 28 tonnes in the same month last year), chuck rolls and topside/inside exports have only recently started to improve.

Chuck roll exports reached 794 tonnes swt during the past month, from only 13 tonnes swt a year ago, with topside/inside surging to 763 tonnes swt from just 8 tonnes swt in February 2012.

A report suggests that Chinese cattle farmers and processors are facing a challenge through recent lower cattle prices, which has led farmers to sell more female cattle and calves (China Animal Agriculture Association, Hexun Net).

In addition, limited availability of local beef and associated rising beef prices reportedly accelerated the shift from local product to imported beef, particularly for Chinese cuisines, which is likely to boost demand for a wider range of cuts in coming months.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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