AUSTRALIA shipped a record quantity of lamb in 2014-15, about a quarter of the tonnage leaving as whole carcases, mostly to the Middle East, the United States, China and South East Asia.
Meat and Livestock Australia said Department of Agriculture figures showed Australian lamb exports finished strongly at 241,562 tonnes, up 7 percent on the previous financial year.
“Despite reduced shipments to China over the past twelve months, volumes to most other major markets increased, with Australian lamb shipments further supported by a falling Australian dollar,” MLS said.
The Middle East was again Australia’s largest lamb export market, taking 69,374 tonnes, up 15pc year-on-year. The major ME markets were the UAE, 18,271 tonnes; Jordan, 16,238 tonnes, and; Qatar, 12,745 tonnes. The US was the second largest quantity of Australian lamb exports, at 48,153 head, up 14pc on the previous financial year.
MLA said following unprecedented exports in 2013-14, exports to China slipped 13pc last year, to 35,737 tonnes, with the trade reportedly slowing due to high cold store inventories.
Shipments to South East Asia remained buoyant, at 13,026 tonnes, up 27pc, primarily driven by demand from Malaysia, which took 8633 tonnes. Lamb exports to the EU were 12pc lower year-on-year at 12,323 tonnes, while shipments to Papua New Guinea rose 18pc to 11,668 tonnes.
MLA said the most popular product remained whole carcase, with shipments reaching 62,745 tonnes or 26pc of lamb exports. Breast and flap ranked second, at 42,953 tonnes, followed by 39,194 tonnes of leg and 36,526 tonnes of shoulder.
Mutton exports higher than five-year average
Australian mutton exports reached 169,492 tonnes in 2014/15 – back 7pc from the previous year’s record high, MLA said.
“With consequent tighter supplies already evident, reflected in the lower export volume over the past 12 months, it should be noted that the 2014/15 volume was still considerably higher, 38pc, than the five-year average of 122,724 tonnes.”
Mutton shipments to the Middle East of 52,644 tonnes were up 21pc year-on-year and 19pc above the five-year average. These exceeding shipments to China, which declined 31pc on year-ago levels, to 41,213 tonnes, though 80pc higher than the five-year average. In 2011, Australian mutton exports totalled were 5827 tonnes.
MLA said demand from South East Asia continued to strengthen during 2014/15, with shipments lifting 6pc year-on-year, to 27,174 tonnes – up 79pc on the five-year average for the region.
The US market also took 12pc more Australian mutton in 2014/15, at 11,752 tonnes, and the EU imported 4487 tonnes, 17pc less than the previous year.
Source: MLA, Department of Agriculture.
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