There are positive signs in markets such as Russia, the Middle East, South East Asia and China at a time Australia’s mature markets are struggling, said Dr. Peter Barnard, Meat & Livestock Australia’s International Market and Economic Services general manager.
“While our long-term customers in Japan and the US continue to face economic adversity and decreased consumer confidence, and competition increasing in Korea, emerging markets are experiencing growth,” he said. “Conditions are ideal for us to ramp up our international marketing programs and capitalize on the opportunity to build and develop the profile of Australian beef in these markets.”
Australian beef exports to Japan are down 3% this year to date, due primarily to the low US dollar making US beef more competitive in that market. The weakening of the US dollar against the Australian dollar has also seen volumes of Australian beef to the US decrease by 25%.
“Russia has imported more than 38,000 tonnes of Australian beef in the year to date – a significant proportion of the export volume normally sold to the US. This is not only due to currency but also reduced supplies from South America” he said.
Australian beef exports to the Middle East have grown from 4,374 tonnes in 2007 to 15,753 tonnes in 2009. The trend has continued in 2010, with exports for the first 10 months of 2010 to the Middle East rising 59%, to more than19,000 tonnes. Within the region, the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, has undergone rapid economic growth due to high oil prices and increased demand for support services.
“In South East Asia and China, Australian beef exports to October 2010 are up by 4% year-on-year, following a 35% increase in 2009, with this export growth driven by demand in developing Asian markets such as Indonesia, China and the Philippines,” Bernard said. “Total population in this region is estimated at 1.9 billion – 27% of the world’s total population – and with income growth comes increased consumption of proteins including beef.”