Australian beef exports 2006 at record level

by Editor
Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry reported that Australian beef and veal exports rose 5% during 2006 to a record 953,932 tonnes swt.

Thus the previous record of 946,629 tonnes exported during 2001 has been exceeded by 1%. 89% of total exports for the year were sent to just three countries: Japan (42.5%), the US (31%) and Korea (15.7%).

The majority of the increase in Australia’s beef and veal exports for the year was to Korea. Shipments to Korea jumped 41% on the previous record set in 2005, to 149,663 tonnes swt, as strong demand for Australian product continued, assisted by the ongoing absence of US product.

Exports to Japan in 2006 increased slightly on 2005 levels, to a record 405,796 tonnes. While exports for the first seven months of the year were 8% below year ago levels, it rose to 14% above year ago levels from August to December. Main reason for both were the planned resumption of US beef imports into Japan and the restrictions that have limited initial imports of US beef.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) emerged as a significant market for Australian beef shipments in 2006, receiving 12,512 tonnes swt – a jump from the 510 tonnes exported in 2005. Limited beef supplies from the EU and South America have generated demand for Australian beef in this market.

An increase of 39% has been reached with exports to Indonesia, and South Africa has notably risen, too, from 139 tonnes in 2005 to 3,143 tonnes.

Australian beef exports to the US have fallen by 8% to 295,267 tonnes swt probably attributed to the strong competition for product from North Asian markets. On a bright note, chilled beef exports to the US reached a record high in 2006, totalling 33,541 tonnes.