Australia beef exports to reach record high in 2015

Beef - Alpha - Wikimedia CommonsHigh demand for Australian beef could see exports from the country reach a new record high in 2015

According to projections made by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), export of beef and veal in Q3 2015 could increase by 11 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.

MLA market information manager Ben Thomas said that if export volumes continued at the same rate as they have for the first six months of 2015, national beef exports could rise for a fourth consecutive year.

MLA’s outlook for 2015 has changed significantly in the past six months. In January this year, MLA had predicted a significant decline in exports compared to last year. Drought and low commodity prices saw record numbers of beef cattle exported in 2014. Thomas added that continued drought conditions this year had driven up slaughter rates, which in turn, had increased beef exports.

“There are a number of markets where the year-to-date volumes are up significantly from where we were this time last year,” he said. USA, Japan, South Korea and China have been holding steady, he added. 

Indonesia, a big market for Australia traditionally, has slashed import of live cattle this year.

Thomas also noted that prices for Australian beef had been incredibly strong and that MLA was confident of the strong prices holding. “Beef prices are in record territory at the moment,” he said.

Talking about trends for the last 20 years, he explained that the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator, for example, was at 535 cents per kilo carcass weight, which was the highest that has been.

The continuing high levels of export have reduced the national herd in Australia to a 20-year low. Thomas said that even with lower slaughter rates expected in 2016-17, beef export volumes were still expected to be approximately one million tonnes in 2017.

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