Market Morsel: One of these years is not like the others

Livestock | 21st June 2021 | By Matt Dalgleish

Market Morsel

Annual average beef export values across Australia’s top four beef export destinations had been reasonably consistent during 2017 to 2019 with values between Japan, South Korea, China and the USA sitting reasonably close to one another. In 2020 the values began to diverge, and in 2021 there have been some wide differences opening up.

In terms of market share of beef export trade volumes there has been a bit of re-shuffling of seats in recent years too with South Korea moving into second spot for the first time ever, during this year. Currently, Japan sits in top spot holding 26.1% of the total volume of beef export flows. South Korea and China are fighting neck and neck for second and third place with 18.3% and 17.3%, respectively. Meanwhile, the USA is dragging its heels in forth place on 15.2% of the total market share of Aussie beef export volumes.

In 2017 annual average beef export values across the top four destinations ranged between 679c/kg for Japan to 761c/kg for China. In terms of market share of volume in 2017 China was in forth place with a low volume, higher value trade proposition while Japan was in the highest volume, lowest value place.

Over the last five years Japan has seen their beef export values gain 21% from 679c/kg in 2017 to 824c/kg in 2020, only to see a 7% decline to 762c/kg swt in the 2021 season. In contrast, China has seen beef export values continue to grow progressively each year from 761c/kg in 2017 to  1038 c/kg in 2021 (a gain of 36%).

Like China, South Korea has managed successive gains in export values each year from 741c/kg in 2017 to 919c/kg in 2021, representing a lift of 24% over the five year period. The USA managed a 38% increase from 718c/kg in 2017 to 989c/kg in 2020, only to suffer a 4% drop in 2021 to 948c/kg swt.

In 2017 only 82 cents separated the the highest to lowest annual average beef export value. However in 2021 the gap between lowest and highest has widened to 276 cents.


  • Beef
  • Cattle
  • Exports
  • Trade