Beef boom, despite China

Livestock | 12th June 2024 | By Matt Dalgleish

Beef Export Summary May 2024

In welcome news China has recently reinstated market access for five of the seven remaining abattoirs that had been shut out. However, total monthly beef export flows during 2024 has shown that the access limits had not significantly curtailed the trade. Indeed, export flows for May 2024 shows that total monthly beef export volumes have peaked at levels not seen since late 2019 and month to month flows have been growing steadily over the year.

There was 113,923 tonnes swt of Australian beef reported shipped offshore in May 2024, which was an 8% gain from the volumes exported during April 2024. Compared to the five-year average flows for May the current trade volumes are running 26% higher. In terms of market share of the trade in 2024, the USA account for 25.6% of Aussie beef exports and flows to Japan represent nearly 22% of the trade. Assessment of the top four beef trade destinations in 2024 shows that China is the only one that has seen monthly flows running below average seasonal levels, despite this reduced demand the Chinese trade sits in third place and accounts for 15.5% of the trade so far this year.

A summary of the top four beef trade destinations is outlined below:

USA – During May 2024 there was 31,294 tonnes of beef shipped from Australia to the USA, the best monthly flows since December 2023. May saw a 15% lift in Aussie beef exports over the month and the current volumes being sent to the USA are sitting 85% above the average seasonal trend for May, based on the last five-years of the trade.

Japan – There has been a noticeable increase in demand for Aussie beef from Japan in 2024 and May 2024 has been no exception. There was a 17% lift in beef exports from Australia during May to see 25,435 tonnes consigned. Current flows to Japan represent trade levels that are nearly 9% above the five-year seasonal average for May.

China – As already outlined, the Australian beef trade to China has been running at levels below the average trend and this has continued during May 2024. There was 15,359 tonnes of Aussie beef shipped to China in May, which was a marginal 3% increase from the flows seen during April 2023. Compared to the five-year seasonal trend the beef trade from Australia to China is currently running nearly 19% below the May average levels.

South Korea –  May 2024 saw an 8% increase in beef from Australia from the flows reported in April to register 17,096 tonnes swt shipped for the month. A comparison of current flows to the five-year average for May shows that Aussie beef demand in South Korea is running nearly 24% above trend.



  • Beef
  • Cattle
  • Exports
  • Trade