Mutton to China off the boil

Livestock | 5th May 2021 | By Matt Dalgleish

The Snapshot

  • Total Australian mutton exports for April dropped 22% from the levels seen during March.
  • Aussie mutton flows to China lead the move lower with a 38% reduction noted, compared to an 8% decline for the USA.
  • Mutton exports from Australia to “other destinations” have been weak all season with volumes running 57% below the average pattern since January.

The Detail

Australian mutton exports for April eased 22% to record 10,042 tonnes swt shipped, just 32 tonnes lower than the figures reported for April 2020.

The current season mutton export trend has moved in line with the 2020 pattern since March and the April figures are sitting 13% below the five-year average for April.

Aussie mutton flows to the top two destinations for Australian mutton, China and the USA, remain above their respective seasonal average levels, but the recent trend shows that demand is cooling in China.

April saw mutton exports to China drop 38% from the figures reported for March. There were 3,717 tonnes swt recorded for April and despite the easing demand over the month mutton export levels remain 15% above the five-year April average.

Export flows to the USA declined by 8% during April to see 1,766 tonnes consigned. Despite the easing trend the volume of Aussie mutton to America represent levels that are 92% above the five-year average seasonal pattern for April.

Demand for Aussie mutton from Malaysian consumers held up well during April, mirroring the volumes set in March, to see 1,604 tonnes swt exported. This represents volumes that are 49% above the five-year trend for April.

Although these three key mutton export destinations are all ahead of their respective seasonal average levels Australian mutton exports to “other destinations” have been abnormally low, keeping the total mutton export volumes below the seasonal average throughout 2021.

Australian mutton exports to “other destinations” was off 9% over April to register 2,410 tonnes swt consigned. The export volumes for April are running 56% under the five-year average seasonal trend, which is reflective of the weak demand seen since the start of 2021 with total flows to “other destination” so far this year sitting at 57% below the seasonal pattern.


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