Australian beef and veal values during 2011-12 increased 3.5% year-on-year and finished 1.6% higher than the five-year average, at A$4.69 billion (Global Trade Atlas).
The improved returns coincided with a 1.2% rise in export volumes during the same period.
In what was a difficult year for Australian exporters, with increased competition in traditional markets, sluggish consumer demand and sentiment, as well as an A$ which averaged 5% higher year-on-year (103USȼ), the higher returns overshadow a difficult global trading environment.
Nonetheless, the overall average per tonne value increased 2% on the corresponding period last year, to A$4,951/tonne.
Despite remaining the first and third most valuable markets, respectively, export values to both Japan (A$1.58 billion) and Korea (A$654 million) declined 6% and 8% year-on-year, with shipments throughout the same period easing 7% and 12%, respectively.
A 28% rise in export volumes to the US during 2011-12 helped underpin the 26% increase in export returns, which reached A$895 million.
While the surge in volumes sent to the US has been a positive for exporters, the majority of product shipped has been manufacturing beef. As a result, the value per tonne eased 2% year-on-year, averaging A$4,360/tonne.
While taking predominantly lower valued product, export values to Combined Independent States (mostly Russia) finished 2011-12 as the fourth most valuable market, despite returns falling 28% year-on-year, to A$210 million – in line with a 35% reduction in export volumes.
Record shipments to Taiwan (20% higher year-on-year) over the same period underpinned a 33% improvement in export values, which totalled A$206 million, with returns per tonne averaging A$5,450/tonne.
Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, the EU continues to be the most lucrative for Australian exporters, with the value per tonne during 2011-12 increasing 3% year-on-year, averaging A$10,133/tonne.
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