AUSTRALIA - Strong cattle values, at the same time as easing indicative export prices, did little to slow down beef exports in February, with Australia trading 106,054 tonnes swt of beef and veal, up almost six per cent year-on-year and the highest February volume on record according to figures from the Department of Agriculture
Meat and Livestock Australia said that once again, the US was Australia’s largest export destination, taking 37,822 tonnes for the month, up 60 per cent year-on-year but short of the monthly record of 47,238 tonnes recorded in September last year.
While industrial action was causing back logs at US west coast ports (labour negotiations are now reported to have concluded), Australian exporters were, in part, able to redirect product and keep volume flowing, with the proportion of exports to east coast ports increasing from 64 per cent in February last year to 74 per cent this year.
While export growth was also evident in Japan (up 10 per cent) and Canada (up 36 per cent), most other major markets received fewer shipments than last year.
Exports to China declined 25 per cent year-on-year to 9,874 tonnes and volume to Indonesia shrunk 29 per cent to 4,306 tonnes. While exports to Korea were steady, at 12,186 tonnes, shipments to the Middle East were back 23 per cent, at 3,882 tonnes.
February exports were boosted by high slaughter rates, with the NLRS eastern states indicative weekly adult cattle slaughter averaging just over 170,000 head, up two per cent year-on-year and not far below the high levels recorded in November last year.
Furthermore, part of the decline in US imported manufacturing prices was offset by a falling Australian dollar averaging 77.92US¢ for the month, back 13 per cent year-on-year.
TheMeatSite News Desk