Down, but not out
- Despite the 6% decline in total lamb exports from August to September, reaching 21,835 tonnes swt last month, the current flows are running 16% above the five-year seasonal average for September.
- The flow of Australian lamb to the USA sits 38% above the five-year average for September.
- Meanwhile lamb export trade volumes to China are 46% ahead of the five-year average pattern.
Lamb export volumes exiting Australia continued to ease over September 2021 with consecutive monthly falls posted since June. However, flows during winter were exceptionally high from a historic perspective so the weaker start to spring is all relative.
Despite the 6% decline in total lamb exports from August to September, reaching 21,835 tonnes swt last month, the current flows are running 16% above the five-year seasonal average for September and are sitting at the top of the normal fluctuation that could be expected based on the historic flows usually seen in September.
Indeed, well above average lamb exports were noted for both the USA and China, which are Australia’s top two destinations for lamb exports, holding 27.0% and 24.5% of the 2021 market share, respectively.
Lamb exports from Australia to the USA dipped 21% during September to see 5,690 tonnes swt consigned for the month. Perhaps the Yanks can be forgiven for the decline in lamb flows given their massive increase in Aussie mutton exports seen during September.
Additionally, the flow of Australian lamb to the USA still sits 38% above the five-year average for September despite the drop in trade from August. Indeed, it has been a huge winter for lamb exports to the USA with average volumes from June to August running 82% above the seasonal flows that could be assumed as “normal” levels, according to the five-year average trend.
China is also doing some heavy lifting, when it comes to demand for Aussie lamb products. September 2021 saw a 5% gain in trade volumes to take shipments to 5,518 tonnes swt for the month. This represents levels that are 46% ahead of the five-year average pattern for September.
Lamb exports to China have been trekking above the upper end of the normal range that could be expected since May 2021 and over the entire year, thus far, average monthly flows are sitting 22% higher than the normal seasonal pattern.