AUSTRALIAN lamb exports dropped 20 percent year-on-year in the 12 months to March, according to Meat & Livestock Australia.
The shipment total of 22,600 tonnes in March took lamb exports for the year-to-March to 57,900 tonnes, MLA said, despite competition between the United States and China lifting prices in February.
The US was Australia’s top lamb market in March, taking 5900 tonnes for the month, and the country continues to capture a growing proportion of Australia’s chilled lamb exports, accounting for 44pc in March, up from 32pc for the same month last year.
In the recent US Lamb Report by Steiner Consulting, MLA said it was noted that imports of lamb from suppliers other than New Zealand and Australia continue to be limited, providing price support for Australian product.
MLA said unfortunately the lamb trade to the Middle East region has fallen away, largely as a result of Qatar ending the import subsidies on lamb in December last year. Trade to the United Arab Emirates has also been quiet this year, back 23pc on 2020 levels, likely a consequence of elevated prices as supply remains tight, MLA said.
Mutton exports to China up 58pc in year to March
MLA said mutton exports were 12,900 tonnes in March, a slight lift on February volumes and just 4pc behind March 2020. Overall, mutton exports for the year-to-March are back 26pc, again the result of subdued slaughter levels primarily impacting the availability of mutton for export.
MLA said mutton exports to China have lifted remarkably, up 58pc for the year-to-March. Unfortunately, for many other markets, competition from China has resulted in sharp year-on-year declines in the volume of shipped mutton.
MLA said as vaccines are distributed globally and lockdown restrictions are eased, this will be encouraging for tourism and foodservice industries, lending support to demand for imported red meat. MLA expected that economic demand drivers should improve relative to 2020, but constrained supply remained a huge factor for Australia’s export industry. Continuing to build upon high-value opportunities certainly remains critical, MLA said.