Australia to hold its spot

THE reputation of Australian beef for quality and excellent food safety standards should hold it in good stead to remain a dominant player in the big United States grinding beef import market post our current supply shortage.
Nanjing Night Net

Combined with favourable trading conditions via a longstanding free trade agreement, those credentials would suggest that even though the imported environment was becoming more crowded, Australia was well-placed to keep its spot as a major supplier.

This from Meat and Livestock Australia’s new North America international business manager Rob Williams, who took up the position at Washington this year.

MLA figures show beef shipments to the United States were down a third in January, year-on-year, with just 11,614 tonnes sent.

In 2016, Australia shipped just over 242,000t to the US, a marked decrease from 2015 where a record high of just under 416,000t went.

Mr Williams said imported US beef prices were currently relatively high compared with domestically produced beef, which have been low due to high supply of cattle, despite robust demand.

This was particularly highlighted in the imported lean grinding beef market, where supplies of specific products were particularly tight.

Although, US importers were resisting paying the premium to purchase certain line items, he said.

The strong Australian dollar had also worked against shipping greater volumes, Mr Williams said.

Other exporting countries do not appear to be filling the gap left by the shortage in supply from Australia.

“Supply is tight from our major competitors as well, primarily New Zealand and Uruguay,” Mr Williams said.

“The gap has primarily been filled by domestic product, where prices have been lower than the historical average, or through commercial decisions to run down existing stocks.

“There has also been some substitution of product in limited areas, for example with pork.”

MLA in-market research indicates the grass fed beef market in the US was growing.

“Grass fed beef is a niche product in the US, as most domestic beef is conventionally raised on corn and other grain.

“This is a small but growing market, with grass fed beef now making up a greater proportion of the US beef supply and we expect this trend to continue.”

Chilled product from Australia was also growing in popularity, again from a very small volumetric base.

In 2016, chilled meat exports represented 25 per cent of exports in volume, up by more than four per centfrom 2015.

However, they represented 34 per cent of the value of the trade.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.