Three outta four ain’t bad.

Livestock | 6th October 2023 | By Matt Dalgleish

Mutton Export Summary September 2023

Total Australian mutton exports for September 2023 managed to post a 4% lift on volumes from the trade flows seen during August, and that’s a good result given that August volumes were already quite elevated. There was 16,436 tonnes of Aussie mutton exported over September, which represents volumes that are 14% higher than the five-year average for September and 30% above the mutton export flows seen during September 2022. But Australian mutton is significantly cheaper than this time last year, so it is probably unsurprising to see export volumes booming presently.

A summary of the trade flows to the top four mutton destinations is as follows.

China – There has been a massive increase in demand for Australian mutton in China during 2023. Every consecutive month since January 2023 has managed to break historic records with each month this year beating the previous record for that month. September has been no exception with 8,863 tonnes swt of Aussie mutton sent to China. This is a 34% lift on the flows seen during August 2023 and it is 37% higher than the five-year average for September. So far during 2023 average monthly flows of mutton from Australia to China is sitting 80% above the five-year average seasonal trend. A huge result that has seen China accounting for nearly 45% of the total Aussie mutton exports this year.

Malaysia – During 2023 growth in demand for Australian mutton from Malaysia has seen them displace the USA from the second top destination. This year Malaysia has accounted for around 11% of total mutton exports from Australia, compared to the USA on 6% of the trade flows. In September mutton exports to Malaysia eased by nearly 5% to 1,686 tonnes swt. Despite the slight decline in trade mutton flows to Malaysia remain ahead of the five-year average for September marginally (by 0.8%), but is running 18% above the levels seen exported during September 2022.

USA – The mutton trade from Australia to the USA has been in the doldrums for much of this year, and is the only one of the top four trade destinations to be running below the average seasonal trend for most of the season. There was just 700 tonnes of Aussie mutton reported exported to the USA for September 2023, which is a 13% drop on the flows seen in August and 53% below the five-year September average levels.

Saudi Arabia – As the fourth top destination for Aussie mutton, sitting just behind the USA, with 5.7% of the trade Saudi Arabia has had a very strong 2023. The sheep meat market in the Middle East is very price sensitive and competitive so the relatively cheaper Australian mutton seen this year has provided a boost to trade volumes. September 2023 saw volumes lift by 33% from the levels seen during August to hit a monthly record this year of 1,532 tonnes swt. This is the largest monthly shipment of mutton seen from Australia to Saudi Arabia since February 2020 and represents levels that are a whopping 147% higher than the five-year average levels for September.



  • Sheep
  • Exports
  • Trade