Beef Exports to US Hit Three Year High

AUSTRALIA - Australian beef and veal exports during March hit a three year high to the US, reaching 26,786 tonnes swt, with total shipments for March back five per cent year-on-year, at 83,373 tonnes swt. Despite the year-on-year decline in March, Australian exports for the first quarter of 2012 were up 1.5 per cent on 2011, at 209,245 tonnes swt.
calendar icon 4 April 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

After going close in February, the US was Australia’s largest export market by volume, surpassing Japan (25,028 tonnes swt) for the first time in three years, by 1,758 tonnes swt. However, the return of the US to Australia’s largest beef export market (albeit for only one month so far) is primarily a tale of two markets – with the volumes to the US resurgent on the back of record imported (mainly grinding) beef prices, while trading conditions to Japan continue to remain very tough.

Attracted by historically high US prices for beef so far in 2012, Australian beef shipments to the US increased 73 per cent year-on-year during March, to 26,786 tonnes swt. The significantly higher shipments in March continued the export revival of recent months, with exports to the US up 76 per cent for the first quarter of 2012, to 61,900 tonnes swt. However, it should also be noted that the sharp increase in exports so far in 2012 is compared with very low 2011 volumes, when exports for the calendar year were the lowest since the late 1960’s.

In contrast to the US, export conditions to Japan during March remained very difficult for Australian exporters – largely a combination of subdued consumer demand and increased competition from US beef, assisted by the weak US$. At 25,028 tonnes swt, exports to Japan during March were down 21 per cent and 28 per cent on March 2011 and the five-year March average, respectively, along with being the lowest March total since 2003. For the first three months of 2012, Australian beef exports to Japan were down 17 per cent year-on-year, at 65,284 tonnes swt.

Similarly to Japan, an increase in the competitive position of US beef in the Korean market also impacted demand for Australian beef to Australia’s third largest beef export market. Adding to the tough export environment, the supply of traditional Hanwoo beef has also reportedly increased in recent months, tempering demand for imported product. Australian beef exports to Korea for March were 7,921 tonnes swt – a decrease of 52 per cent on the very high March 2011 volume (16,555 tonnes swt).

With prices for imported beef to the US anticipated to remain high throughout April, the increase in Australian shipments is expected to be maintained in the coming weeks. However, the outlook for both Japan and Korea is somewhat less certain, further complicated by the likely decrease in cattle throughput due to the Easter disruption to processing activities.

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.