November beef exports remain subdued at 87,850t


by Jon Condon, BEEF Central (Australia)

04 December 2017


AUSTRALIAN beef exports are on track to finish the full 2017 calendar year at around a neat one million tonnes, after November exports to all markets reached less than 88,000t.


Figures released for November by Department of Agriculture continue to show a 2017 beef slaughter season characterised by limited cattle supply, driven by earlier herd liquidation caused by the shadow of two consecutive years of widespread drought.


November Trade was barely 1500 tonnes or 1.7 percent above October exports, reflecting the modest rise in slaughter numbers over the past four weeks, and on-par with trade seen during November last year.


Calendar year to date, total Australian exports have reached 926,993 tonnes, marginally down on the same period the year before.


With December exports typically lower due to Christmas plant closures, it suggests a full-year export volume around the million tonne mark.


Within the past five year time-frame, however, there have been colossal peaks and troughs, reflecting eastern Australia’s extreme seasonal volatility and its impact on production and herd size.


Just two years ago, 2015 full-year exports exceeded 1.2 million tonnes.


Here’s a snapshot of trade last month into key markets:


Largest export customer, Japan accounted for 25,811t of Australian beef last month, up 12pc on October trade, but still 4pc below trade shipped in November last year.


Calendar year-to-date, Japan has now taken more than 268,000t of Australian beef, compared with 241,000t for the same period a year earlier.


Second largest export market the United States took  a disappointing 14,700t Australian beef in November, 22pc down on the previous month, but substantially higher than last year’s 10,800t.


Year-to-date volumes show exports to the US topping 215,000t, compared with 218,700t for the same period in 2016.


It suggests full year exports this year will reach around 240,000t, much the same as last year, but a massive drop on the 2015 year (416,000t) and the year before that (398,000t) when Australian production was near record highs.


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