As reported by MLA, July was a substantial month for Australian beef exports, with China topping the charts for the first time ever and surpassing Japan by over 700 tonnes. The increase of exports to China has been on the rise; back in July 2017, it accounted for 9.5% of Australian beef exports – just last month it managed to reach 24.5%. As a whole, July was a sizeable month for Australian beef, with a whopping 115,000 tonnes of beef being exported. This marks Australia’s biggest month since July 2015 and is representative of a strong export demand, a weak Australian dollar and higher levels of slaughter across the country.
The Rise of China
While Japan and the US have conventionally been the most prominent destinations for Australian beef, China was at the top market on a volume basis for July, reaching a massive 28,200 tonnes swt. On the back of massive volumes over the last twelve months, beef shipments to China were up 96% on year-on-year in July, almost 700 tonnes (2.4%), making China higher than Japan.
Global export demand is predominantly being generated from China, with June 2019 marking a new highest record for the most beef imported in a month by a single country, at 133,700 tonnes swt (import data for July was not yet available). China is seeking alternative meat proteins to fill the space left by the ongoing African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemic and resulting in nationwide pork shortages. However, increasing middle-class household incomes and shifting taste preferences are underpinning demand for higher quality meat, such as Australian beef.
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