Australia sees surge for lamb and mutton exports

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Australian lamb exports boosted by demand from Middle East and China
Australian lamb exports boosted by demand from Middle East and China

Related tags Meat Middle east China Lamb Livestock

Australian lamb and mutton exports were boosted by a surge in shipments to China and the Middle East last year, according to the latest data from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).

Australian lamb exports hit 200,590 tonnes (t) swt in 2012-13, with value up 4% year-on-year to AU$1.13bn. Chilled exports were up 34%, suggesting that emerging markets are taking higher-value products.

Strong demand for Australian lamb in China drove a 38% year-on-year increase in export volumes to the region. Export value was up 24% to AU$147.5m, meaning China now accounts for 13% of Australia’s total lamb export value.

The Middle East also saw bullish demand, with a 37% year-on-year increase in export volumes to 58,662t swt. Export values to the Middle East reached $308.1m, with the region overtaking the US in its share of total Australian lamb exports, now at 27%. The export increase was driven by demand from Bahrain, which imported 9,713t swt of Australian chilled lamb in 2012-13, up from 229t swt in 2011-12.

Australian lamb exports to the US were up 7% in volume terms to 37,479t swt, but value remained static at AU$303.5m.

Mutton exports reached 144,105t swt, worth AU$512.6m, in 2012-13 – a 28% increase on 2011-12. China was the biggest driver behind this increase, with mutton exports to China increasing by five-fold to 35,867t swt and export values to the region up 166% year-on-year to AU$92.4m.

Mutton export volumes to the Middle East also saw 16% year-on-year growth, although volumes to the region were down 1% to AU$170.3m.

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