Record Australian lamb exports in 2007

by Editor
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Australian lamb exports 2007 smashed the 2006 record, as increased domestic production was matched by strong export demand.

But exports for 2008 are forecast to decline from the 2007 record volumes, as tighter lamb production, higher lamb prices and a high Australian dollar impacts shipments.

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) reported that shipments for 2007 surpassed the previous record of 2006 by 10%, to 161,037 tons (shipped weight) – the third consecutive year of record shipments, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The growth in lamb shipments over the past three years has been largely fuelled by the combination of strong demand, particularly from the U.S., the Middle East and North Asia. Since 2004, Australian lamb exports have increased 44%, with exports more than doubling in the past 10 years.

The U.S. remained Australia's largest lamb destination during 2007, with shipments jumping 12% year-on-year, to a record of 44,500 tons. China established itself as Australia's second largest market for lamb during 2007, with exports for the year jumping 23%, to 14,504 tons. In contrast to China, lamb exports to Japan during 2007 slipped back 28%, to 8,516 tons, as demand eased and competition, particularly from U.S. beef, increased.

Shipments to the Middle East for 2007 jumped 26% year-on-year, to a record 22,277 tons, as increased volumes were reported to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan.