DESPITE the continued difficult trading conditions, Australian beef and veal exports edged higher in July, increasing 4pc year-on-year, to 82,514 tonnes swt.
According to Meat and Livestock Australia's Red Meat Roundup for August, the combination of the high Australian dollar, increased competition in North Asia and sluggish consumer demand in many markets continues to impact returns for most Australian beef products.
Although compared with a very low total in July 2011 (23,275t), exports to Japan for July increased 33pc year-on-year, to 31,028t – the second highest monthly total for the past 12 months.
After a very tough first half of the year, the past month’s volume was in line with the five-year average for July, with the stronger demand for lower priced product continuing to assist frozen beef shipments – making up 60.5pc of total exports for the month, MLA said.
For the first seven months of 2012, Australian beef exports to Japan reached 181,986t – 4.5pc lower year-on-year.
Exports to the US for July totalled 17,036t, an increase of 8pc on the corresponding period last year, but still 14% below the July average for the past five years.
Illustrating the sustained recovery to the US, monthly Australian beef exports have been higher year-on-year for the past 10 consecutive months, with shipments for January to July 2012 up 40pc year-on-year, at 135,156t.
Lower demand for imported beef in Korea continues to be reflected in Australian monthly shipments, with July volumes contracting 17pc year-on-year, to 9553t – the lowest July total since 2005.
One of the features for July was a monthly record volume to China, at 1065t – 184pc above the corresponding month in 2011 and surpassing the previous monthly record (1056t) set in October 2011.
Year-on-year increases for July were also registered to Malaysia (up 9pc), the Philippines (45pc), Singapore (96pc) and Taiwan (22pc).
Exports to the fourth and fifth largest markets in 2011, Russia and Indonesia, continue to remain subdued in 2012. Exports to Russia in July totalled 2422t, down 40pc year-on-year, while shipments to Indonesia were back 49pc over the same period, at 3174t.
Exports to the EU continue to track just above 2011 levels, with exports for the seven months of 2012 up 7.5pc year-on-year, at 7897t, MLA said.
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