Record beef and lamb exports have propelled Australian red meat exports to the Middle East to new heights.
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) reports that Australia's red meat exports to the Middle East in May totalled 16,492 t (shipped weight), a 46% increase year-on-year and 7% above the previous record set in April 2013. Beef exports totalled 6226 t in May, up 166% year-on-year, while lamb shipments reached 5955 t, up 37%.
The growth in beef exports has been driven by a surge in shipments to Saudi Arabia, with exports totalling 3733 t in May, or 61% of total monthly beef exports to the region. A Saudi Arabian ban on Brazilian beef in late 2012 has been the catalyst for the growth, according to MLA. Brazil exported 33,396 t of beef to Saudi Arabia in 2012, with its absence providing opportunities for Australian beef to gain market share.
Exports of beef to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan, Australia's largest and second largest beef markets in the Middle East during 2012, respectively, have slowed somewhat in 2013, as Brazilian product is reportedly diverted to these markets.
Record lamb shipments in May were spurred by strong growth to the UAE with 1409 t, a 35% increase year-on-year, Jordan with 1961 t, a 48% increase, and Bahrain with 1185 t, up from
50 t in May 2012.
The increase is dramatic given that 10 years ago in May 2003, Australian red meat exports to the region totalled 3319 t. Beef exports were a mere 301 t compared to the 6226 t of beef shipped in May this year.
Source: Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)