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Australian Beef Shipments Improve

08 August 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - Australia shipped 31,703 tonnes of beef to Japan in July, two per cent higher than both the same month last year and the five year July average, according to analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia.

The highest monthly volume since November 2011 was achieved by an increase in frozen beef shipments, up 13 per cent on 2012 to 21,288 tonnes, but partially offset by lower chilled beef exports (down 14 per cent to 10,415 tonnes).

Frozen grassfed beef exports to Japan during the month lifted 12 per cent year-on-year to 16,422 tonnes, with the majority manufacturing beef (14,123 tonnes, or 45 per cent of entire shipments to Japan).

While the improved performance by the fast food sector is likely to have underpinned demand, strong competition from other international markets resulted in a reduction of 65CL exports (down six per cent on last year to 3,792 tonnes), and increased volumes of less popular products such as 70, 75 and 80 CLs.

Exports of frozen brisket declined by 21 per cent from last July, to 2,965 tonnes, largely due to enhanced supplies of US short plate in the market. The fall in chilled grainfed exports, 20 per cent below last year to 6,272 tonnes, was also influenced by elevated imports of US chilled beef.

Australian beef exports to Canada during July almost doubled relative to last year, up 92 per cent, to 1,759 tonnes according to figures from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

MLA said that the majority of the trade was in manufacturing beef (1,305 tonnes, up 151 per cent on last year) with 65CL, 80CL, 85CL and 90CL beef the big growth categories.

The large growth in exports was reflective of the higher supply of lean beef due to the ongoing high cow kill, especially in Queensland, while there may have also been some extra demand for imported product following the flooding and forced shutdown of the High River beef plant through June.

Australian beef exports to the US were three per cent higher year-on-year during July, at 17,667 tonnes, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry figures show.

While July was the largest month on record for total Australian beef exports, other markets such as China, Saudi Arabia and Korea accounted for much of the increase.

There was a lot of variation in the trade during July, with 90CL manufacturing beef growing 24 per cent, to 5,457 tonnes, and 80CL up 32 per cent, to 1,796 tonnes, while 85CL shipments were down 48 per cent, to 1,476 tonnes.

Very lean (95CL) manufacturing beef was virtually steady on last year at 2,583 tonnes.

The largest growth in the cuts trade was for thin flank (up 20 per cent, to 1,837 tonnes), silverside/outside (up 86 per cent, to 701 tonnes ), inside (up 17 per cent, to 1,082 tonnes), knuckle and striploin – probably the highest value growth cut.

The vast majority of Australian beef exported to the US was grassfed, a key point of difference for some end-users overseas – and an important source of lean manufacturing beef for further processing

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