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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Asian beef demand at record levels.

By Matt Dalgleish  |  Source: DAWR, Mecardo

Key points

  • Trade flows of Australian beef to Asia has hit a new monthly record level, 10% higher than the previous peak.
  • A surge in demand has been noted across a range of Asian destinations, including Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and China.
  • The surge in Asian demand has seen total monthly beef export flows lift 24% during May.

2018-06-12 Cattle Fig 1

2018-06-12 Cattle Fig 2

2018-06-12 Cattle Fig 3

The release of the monthly Department of Agriculture and Water Resources trade flow data shows a firm resurgence in demand for Australian beef out of Asia during May. The increase in Asian trade has seen the total beef export flows out of Australia gain 24% during last month

Figure 1 outlines the seasonal pattern for beef exports to Asian destinations for 2018, overlaid with the 2017 trend, the five-year average pattern and the normal seasonal range (grey shaded zone). The flow of Australian beef to Asia hit 76,528 tonne during May which is a new record for monthly beef consignments and is 10% higher than the previous monthly peak that occurred back in July of 2013.

Strong above average flows were noted during May across many Asian destinations, including Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and China. Curiously, Japan and China both recorded their highest monthly flow since July 2013. Beef exports to Indonesia for May increased 87% from the April levels and sit 37% above the five-year average for May at 8,003 tonne. Meanwhile, consignments to South Korea gained 2.7% on the month to 14,755 tonne, an 11% increase on the seasonal average for May.

Figure 2 highlights the monthly flows to Japan so far this season, with above average flows recorded for every month this year. During May consignments of beef to Japan hit 31,703 tonne, a 16% gain from the April levels and 21% above the seasonal average.

Chinese demand is also demonstrating a robust pattern over 2018, with every month except March posting above average flows (Figure 3). The consignment of Australian beef to China particularly strong during May with a month on month increase of 23% noted to see it reach 15,660 tonne. This represents a monthly level 50% higher than the five-year seasonal average for May.      

What does this mean?

The correlation between increased wealth and higher consumption of red meat protein is well documented. As the population in Asia continues to expand and become wealthier (on a per capita basis) we can expect that this will translate into continued growth in demand for Australian beef.

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