AUSTRALIA - Australian beef and veal exports for 2014 hit a new record, at 1.29 million tonnes –17 per cent above the previous high recorded 12 months ago.
The new record has been put down to the highest adult cattle slaughter since 1978, and strong international demand, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.
Shipments during December were 115,457 tonnes, with the US remaining the largest market, taking 40,815 tonnes, followed by Japan (26,845 tonnes), Korea (14,301 tonnes ) and China (11,194 tonnes).
Assisted by the highest December beef exports on record, shipment to the US finished the year at 397,890 tonnes, up 87 per cent from the previous year, with exporters capitalising on the high beef prices over the course of the year.
Interestingly, almost the entire volume of additional beef Australia exported internationally in 2014 compared to 2013 (187,525 tonnes) was directed to the US.
Further emphasising the North American demand, exports to Canada for 2014 were 84 per cent, or 15,075 tonnes, higher year-on-year, at 32,972 tonnes.
Japan finished the year strongly, with monthly exports gradually creeping higher as the year progressed, to take the final figure for 2014 to 293,779 tonnes, up two per cent year-on-year – encouraging, despite Japan falling back into recession towards the end of the year.
Shipments to Korea were up five per cent, to become the highest on record for Australia, at 150,918 tonnes, with demand upheld by the limited US competition.
Exports to the EU continued to build momentum through the grain-fed beef quota, with shipments for 2014 at 24,619 tonnes, up 24 per cent from the previous year. Indonesia completed the year with beef exports 35 per cent higher than the previous year, at 53,139 tonnes.
Shipments to China reduced 20 per cent year-on-year, at 124,586 tonnes, with trade interrupted throughout the year due to changes in import protocols and regulations. Exports to the Middle East also slowed somewhat, albeit to finish the year just 2 per cent below the 2013 level, at 59,803 tonnes.
The Australian beef export record has now been broken for three consecutive years. It is likely 2015 will see a significant reduction in exports from what have been extraordinary highs over the past two years in particular, although in a historical context, volumes are likely to remain high.
TheMeatSite News Desk