Beef back on the wrong side of the tracks

Livestock | 2nd May 2023 | By Matt Dalgleish

Market Morsel

Total Aussie beef exports have declined by 27% during April to see 72,063 tonnes swt sent offshore. Although, it is not uncommon to see beef exports ease over April (the average trend shows a 7% decline from March to April over the last five-years) the strength of the turnaround has seen flows move from the upper end of the “normal” range to the lower end of the “normal” range in just a month.

Current beef export flows are sitting nearly 13% under the five-year average pattern for April.

All four top trading destinations for Aussie beef showed declines in their volumes over April, but South Korea showed the greatest percentage fall after exceptionally strong flows seen during March 2023.

A summary of the top four trading destinations is as follows:

  • Japan – April beef exports from Australia dropped 26% from the levels seen in March to register 15,225 tonnes swt. The export pattern for 2023 continues to closely mirror the pattern set in 2022 with this April’s beef trade volumes sitting 28% under the five-year average for April.
  • China – regains second place in top beef export destinations this month after ousting South Korea. Chinese beef exports from Australia declined the least out of the top four, on a percentage basis, down by 16% on the month with 16,745 tonnes shipped in April. Chinese flows are one of two of the top four nations to remain above the average trend, by 5% in China’s case.
  • South Korea – beef exports from Australia eased 32% over April to 13,586 tonnes. Despite the strong fall South Korean flows also remain above the five-year average for April by 6%.
  • USA – saw a  27% drop in beef exports from Australia over April to see 12,547 tonnes shipped. Compared to the five-year seasonal pattern for April, current flows are running 20% under trend.


  • Beef
  • Cattle
  • Exports
  • Trade