Australian beef and veal exports have already exceeded the 2012 calendar year record volume – with five weeks remaining in the year. As at 25 November, year-to-date shipments had reached 985,000 tonnes swt, 21,500 tonnes swt higher than the 2012 total, driven by the drought induced surge in supplies and assisted by very strong international demand from most markets.
Similarly, lamb exports have also exceeded the record calendar year volume set last year, with year-to-date shipments at 189,800 tonnes swt, up nearly 1,200 tonnes swt – again, with five weeks to go.
While beef and lamb production has surged in 2013, and much of the increased supplies have been directed towards international markets, assisting Australia’s trading position has been the recent decline of the A$, which finished this week at 91US¢, the lowest in 13 weeks. Looking further ahead, recent National Australia Bank forecasts have the currency softening to 86US¢ by the end of 2014, which, if it eventuates, will continue to improve Australia’s trading position.
However, given the extended duration of significantly higher year-on-year slaughter for sheep, lambs and cattle, and assuming average rainfall next year, production is likely to be lower, somewhat reducing export potential in 2014.
While the A$ has softened and exports are surging, good rain this week along the eastern seaboard and adjacent regions continued to buoy livestock markets, with all cattle indicators improving. The EYCI jumped 10¢, to finish the week on 325.5¢/ kg cwt, reaching the highest level since August. The national heavy lamb indicator rose 11¢, to finish Thursday’s markets on 413¢/kg cwt, despite sustained high throughput.