China closing in on US as our second biggest export beef market


Vernon Graham, Queensland Country Life (Australia) 

10 Jun 2019


China is now challenging the United States as our second biggest beef export market as Australia's cattle slaughter rate hits a four-year high.


Our beef exports to China reached almost 23,000 tonnes in May, only 355 tonnes below the 23,323 tonnes shipped to America.


Japan is still our biggest export market in volume terms with exports of 26,841 tonnes in May, up 21pc on April, according to latest trade statistics from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).


Our beef exports to China in the first five months of 2019 have jumped a whopping 61pc year-on-year to 95,428 tonnes.


In the same period our exports to the US climbed 12pc to 102,878 tones while shipments to Japan declined by nine per cent to 114,686 tonnes.


Exports to China in the 12 months to the end of May soared 56pc to 198,703 tonnes compared with shipments of 242,401 tonnes to the US and 304,909 tonnes to Japan.


China's hunger for our beef is being exacerbated by a worsening outbreak of African swine flu (ASF) which is devastating its pig herd, the world's largest.


ASF has been dubbed "pig Ebola" and has spread to Vietnam, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Cambodia, and North Korea.


Meat supply in China is being made even tighter by a border crackdown on a black market trade through its immediate neighbours.


The trade includes buffalo meat from India which arrives via Vietnam to circumvent a ban by Beijing.


Indian exporters want Beijing to allow them to sell directly to China again to alleviate a worsening protein shortage.


Meanwhile, MLA late last week reported the drought-triggered sell-off of cattle had continued in May, adding to mounting losses of breeding cows to slaughter...


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