Australian beef exports expected to climb in 2024 - GAIN

China, Japan, the US and South Korea continue to be main customers
calendar icon 5 March 2024
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FAS/Canberra forecasts beef exports in 2024 to rise to 1.6 MMT (CWE), up 70,000 MT (CWE) from the upward revised 2023 estimate, according to a recent US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report. If the forecast is realised it would be the fourth highest on record, however exports will still be well below the peak of 1.77 MMT (CWE) in 2015. 

The forecast increase of beef exports mainly relates to the expected increase in beef production in 2024. This is expected to be supported by increasing female slaughter as Australia approaches the end of its national herd rebuild and this will support higher exports to the United States. With the United States entering its own national herd rebuild after drought, Australia will be well positioned to fill the void of lower exports from the United States.

The four major export destinations (China, Japan, United States and South Korea), have in recent years accounted for over three-quarters of Australian beef exports. In the first half of 2023, with an increase in supply of beef for export there has been strong growth in export volumes to three of the four major destinations compared to the same period in 2022. The export volume to Japan in the first half of 2023 is 3% lower, but this still accounts for 21%of overall exports. Exports to China and the United States have both grown very strongly at over 40% for the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2022.

The majority of beef exports to the United States is lean grinding beef mainly from cows. Over the last 10 years there appears to be a relatively strong correlation between female slaughter in Australia and beef exports to the United States. With an increase in female slaughter of 23% in the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2022 there has been a very strong 40% increase in beef exports to the United States. This rise in female slaughter in Australia, mainly as a result of nearing the end of the national herd rebuild, is expected to continue in the second half of 2023 and with it the strong growth in beef exports to the United States is anticipated to continue. 

With the United States livestock industry is reported to have now turned towards a national herd rebuild phase after a period of drought, supply of beef for exports has declined by around 11% in the first half of 2023. The three major beef export destinations for the United States of South Korea, Japan and China are also major export destinations for Australia. Australia has begun regaining market share to its major beef export destinations from the United States. With the expectation that reduced beef production in the United States will continue throughout 2023 and into 2024 at a time when Australian production increases, Australia is likely to make further market share gains.

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