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Australia sees increase in red meat exports as US beef production declines, boosting global market share.

Australian Red Meat Exports Soar Amidst US Beef Production Decline

Red Meat Exports Surge as US Beef Production Falls

Australia’s red meat exports experienced a significant surge last year, driven by a sharp decline in livestock prices that made its products more competitive. This occurred at a time when beef production in the United States, a key competitor, was plummeting.

Rising Shipments and Record Highs

Shipments of red meat accelerated throughout the year, resulting in record-high exports of sheep meat and the highest beef exports since 2019, as indicated by trade data. Australia, being one of the world’s leading red meat exporters, is projected to witness even larger exports in 2024 due to low U.S. beef output and robust Chinese demand.

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Impact of Livestock Prices and Weather

Australian cattle and sheep prices experienced a sharp decline last year, primarily due to dry weather triggering a sell-off by farmers. This was driven by concerns about insufficient grass to feed their animals, leading to a significant increase in slaughter rates. In contrast, the United States faced a similar challenge with drought shrinking the cattle herd to its smallest size since 1951, causing beef prices to surge.

Trade Data and Export Statistics

Australia’s export of sheep and goat meat reached 607,878 tons, a significant increase from the previous year. Additionally, fresh and frozen beef exports soared to 1.18 million tons, marking a substantial rise from the prior year’s figures. The value of sheep meat exports slightly decreased to $3.1 billion, while beef exports reached a record-high of $7.6 billion.

International Markets and Demand

China emerged as a significant driver of the increase in sheep meat exports, importing a record volume from Australia. Furthermore, beef shipments to China, South Korea, and the United States, the primary export markets, experienced notable growth. Despite recent rainfall leading to a partial recovery in livestock prices, Australian red meat continues to remain competitive.

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Live Exports and Future Projections

Although there was a slight uptick in live sheep and cattle exports from Australia, the levels remained below past highs. Looking ahead, Australia’s red meat exports are poised for continued growth, driven by evolving market dynamics and changing demand patterns.

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