One benefit of lower cattle pricing in Australia is that it is making us more competitive again in offshore markets both for beef export product and live cattle. This is particularly true for the growth in live cattle exports seen from Australia to Vietnam over the year. July 2023 saw monthly flows of Aussie cattle to Vietnam move back above the average pattern for the first time in nearly two years.
July 2023 saw 20,688 of cattle shipped from Australia to Vietnam, a 52% lift on the volumes sent in June and it places the current export levels nearly 15% above the five-year average trend for July. You would have to go back to August 2021 to find the last time we saw trade volumes to Vietnam above the respective monthly average. The increased trade flows to Vietnam over 2023 has seen the market share of Australian live cattle lift from 9.4% of the total trade in 2022 to 19.4% of the trade this year.
China has also seen an increase in cattle exports during July from Australia with 7,299 head reported shipped over the month. This is an 81% increase on the volumes set in June and takes the Chinese flows back to seasonal average levels for July, based upon the last five years of the trade volumes.
Meanwhile, flows to Indonesia remain around 21% under the seasonal average trend for July with just 35,992 head of cattle reported exported. While the July numbers to Indonesia represent a 13% lift on the volumes sent during June the trade overall this season remains fairly lacklustre. Average monthly flows of cattle from January to July are 34% below the five-year average seasonal trend and only 3% higher than for the same period last year, so there is some catching up to do into Indonesia to get volumes back on track and the current issues with access for some sites in Australia due to lumpy skin disease investigations isn’t ideal.
In terms of total live cattle export flows, the improved situation in Vietnam and China over July has seen total exports lift by 32% from the levels seen in June 2023. There were 68,954 head of cattle reported exported from Australia over July, which is the highest monthly volumes since August 2021 and just 10% shy of the five-year average for July.