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Aussie Beef Exports Lower in 2009

07 January 2010
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - Australian beef and veal exports for the 2009 calendar year totalled 927,277 tonnes swt – three per cent below the previous year and one per cent back on the average for the past five-years (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foresty).

Contributing to the decline in shipments in 2009 was a contraction in beef production throughout the second half of the year, along with the high Australian dollar and recession conditions in key exports markets, according to analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia.

The main influencing factor for Australian beef exports in 2009 was the rapid rise of the A$ throughout the year, with the A$ appreciating 42 per cent against the US$ since the beginning of March and 34 per cent against the Japanese yen.

The higherAustralian dollar combined with the impact of recession, and the fallout from the global financial crisis, constrained returns to Australian exporters from Japan and the US during 2009.

However, on a positive note, South East Asia continued to develop as a significant market for Australian beef, underpinned by a record volume of beef to Indonesia.

Japan maintained its position as Australia’s largest beef export destination in 2009, with shipments for the year back two per cent on 2008, at 356,567 tonnes.

The high Australian dollar created very difficult trading conditions for Australian exporters during the second half of 2009, which was further complicated by recession and deflationary conditions in Japan.

However, with total shipments to all markets also declining in 2009, Japan’s share of Australia’s exports increased from 38 per cent in 2008, to 38.5 per cent in 2009 – but still below the recorded 44.5 per cent set in 2005.

Despite Australian shipments to the US increasing seven per cent in 2009, to 251,479 tonnes swt, exports remained 16 per cent below the average for the past five years, at 299,125 tonnes swt. Again, the high A$ impacted shipments to the US in 2009, with some product diverted to more lucrative markets, while sluggish US consumer demand and a surge in dairy cow slaughter also impacted demand for Australian beef. Exports to Canada increased 44 per cent for 2009, to 12,319 tonnes.

Despite increased competition from the US and a very sluggish start to the year, with Australian exports back 27 per cent during the first quarter of 2009, Australian beef shipped to Korea exceeded initial forecasts, reaching 115,481 tonnes – down nine per cent on the previous year.

The annual total was boosted by very strong December shipments, up 31 per cent on the same period last year, at 12,342 tonnes. For the first 11 months of 2009, Korea imported 52,831 tonnes of US beef, up from 32,022 tonnes in 2008.

Indonesia clearly established itself as Australia’s fourth largest beef export destination in 2009, receiving a record 51,816 tonnes – up 57 per cent on the previous calendar year high of 33,016 tonnes. Robust economic conditions and strong consumer demand underpinned the record shipments for the year, with over 6,000 tonnes swt shipped in both October and December.

Like Indonesia, a record volume of beef was also sent to a number of south Asian markets in 2009, including Malaysia (up 30 per cent, to 8,026 tonnes), China (up 97 per cent, to 5,286 tonnes), Hong Kong (up 132 per cent, to 7,492 tonne), Thailand (up 12 per cent, to 1,595 tonnes) and Viet Nam (up 31 per cent, to 1,002 tonnes). A 15 per cent increase for the year was also record to Taiwan, at 31,288 tonnes, while exports to the Philippines jumped 20 per cent, to 16,958 tonnes. Exports to Singapore slipped seven per cent on the 2008 record volume, to 7,471 tonnes.

Exports to the European Union (9,193 tonnes) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (14,733 tonnes), largely Russia, declined in 2009 from high 2008 levels, while shipments to the Middle East totalled a record 15,752 tonnes, an increase of 21 per cent on the previous year.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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