One for the record books

Livestock | 15th January 2024 | By Matt Dalgleish

Lamb Export Summary December 2023

There was 28,926 tonnes of Australian lamb exported offshore during December 2023, reflecting a mild 3% easing from the very strong levels seen in November. Although December saw slightly lower lamb export volumes it was still the best December result on record for Aussie lamb exports with trade flows running 27% above the five-year average for December and it capped off an exceptional year for the trade.

In total there was 326,013 tonnes swt of Aussie lamb exported offshore in 2023, a new annual record volume and nearly 15% higher than the previous record year seen during 2022 when there was 284,256 tonnes of lamb exported. China managed to sneak past the USA for top trade destination with 20.8% of the trade compared to the 20.3% that the USA accounted for during 2023. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) held onto third top destination with 7.3% and Papua New Guinea (PNG) was placed fourth accounting for 6.9% of total lamb export volumes from Australia.

A summary of the top four Aussie lamb export destinations is as follows.

China – December 2023 saw relatively steady Aussie lamb export volumes to China with 5,031 tonnes reported exported from Australia, just 26 fewer tonnes shipped than in November. The December 2023 lamb export volumes representing trade levels that are nearly 17% higher than the five-year average for December. In total China took 67,763 tonnes of Australian lamb during 2023 which is the second highest annual volumes on record, around 5% below the 71,223 tonnes reported shipped during 2019.

USA – There was 6,117 tonnes of lamb exported from Australia to the USA in December 2023, just 50 tonnes fewer than the November trade levels. Compared to the five-year average volumes for December the current flows are 10% higher. During the entire 2023 season there was 66,320 tonnes of Aussie lamb exported to the USA, which equates to the third highest annual volumes on record.

UAE – Aussie lamb export flows to the UAE dipped by 16% during December 2023 to see 2,227 tonnes traded for the month. Despite the decline this still represents trade levels that are 28% higher than the five-year average for December. For the 2023 year the UAE took a total of 23,764 tonnes of Australian lamb exports which is a new annual record volume. Compared to the previous record of 20,904 tonnes set in 2016 the current trade levels are 14% higher.

PNG – Papua New Guinea took 1,841 tonnes of Australian lamb exports during December 2023, a 16% drop from the levels shipped during November 2023. This was similar to the trade levels seen during December 2022 but 62% higher than the December average trade levels, according to the last five-years of the trade. In total during 2023 PNG shipped in 22,340 tonnes of Australian lamb product making the 2023 season a new annual record for lamb exports, with flows 2% higher than the previous record year of 21,900 tonnes set in 2022.


Note – AI generated image.


  • Lamb
  • Exports
  • Trade