According to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Australian beef exports to the CIS were up 27% year-on-year to 3,071 tonnes swt (t swt) in July. Russia took the largest share, increasing its imports of Australian beef by 21% year-on-year to 2,471t swt, while exports to Kazakhstan totalled 522t swt.
MLA said Kazakhstan was an “emerging market” for Australia, and imported 2,586t swt of Australian beef in 2012, up from 958t swt in 2011. It added that shipments were “virtually non-existent” for the first half of 2012, but ramped up in the second half of the year. This year seems to be following a similar pattern, with July shipments hitting 522t swt, up from 22t in June, bringing the total for the year so far to 750t swt.
Most of the beef shipped to Kazakhstan in 2013 was silverside, topside and thick flank/knuckle, with MLA noticing the absence of demand for chuck and blade or manufacturing beef – which were exported to the country in large quantities last year.
The majority of shipments were also frozen, although MLA said that Australia registered its first chilled shipments to Kazakhstan in the first seven months of July, with 9t of chilled beef exported to the country.
Meanwhile, Australian beef exports to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region saw further increases in July, reaching record levels of 6,922t swt – up 12% on the previous record set in May 2013.
The majority of growth was driven by Saudi Arabia, which turned to Australia after banning Brazilian beef in late 2012. According to the MLA, Saudi Arabia imported 3,986t swt of Australian beef in July, a 591% increase compared to July 2012.
Shipments to Jordan, which slowed slightly at the beginning of the year after Brazilian beef was diverted to the country, were also up 252% year-on-year in July to 1,083t swt.
January-July 2013 shipments to the MENA region totalled 37,778t swt, and the market now accounts for 6.2% of all Australian beef exports, up from 3.2% in 2012. Although Saudi Arabia has driven most of the growth, Iran and Kuwait have also seen dramatic growth of 581% and 135% respectively. Shipments to Australia’s traditional markets in the region, the UAE and Jordan, have remained relatively steady.
“The challenge for Australian beef will be maintaining market share when Brazil is allowed back into Saudi Arabia (no date yet established), and Australian beef supply tightens,” said MLA analysts.
“The recent expansion in the region will have allowed Australian beef to expand into markets where it previously had limited market share, allowing importers and customers alike to familiarise themselves with the product and establish supply chains.”