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Thursday, September 07, 2017

Mutton export volumes spring into life

By Matt Dalgleish  |  Source: DAWR

Key points

  • Mutton consignments for August saw a dramatic 52% lift on last month with gains noted across all main export destinations.
  • Lamb exports were also higher, albeit displaying more moderate gains, with a 5.5% increase on the July figures.
  • Both mutton and lamb volumes for August extending just beyond their respective 70% range upper boundaries, which highlights the strength in overseas demand for both product lines during August. 

2017-09-07 Mutton Fig 1

2017-09-07 Mutton Fig 2

The August release of the lamb and sheep export volumes from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) show a surge in consignments, particularly for mutton. In a positive sign as we head into Spring, export volumes have picked up across many export destinations for both product lines which bodes well for continued offshore demand as we head toward the end of the year.

Figure 1 highlights the total sheep export volumes for the season so far, with the 52% lift from last month’s figures clearly evident as August records a total of 11,846 tonnes shipped. The dramatic lift in consignments pushing the monthly mutton totals above the long term seasonal average for the first time this year and testing above the 70% range upper extremity for this part of the season. 

The increase in mutton volumes coming from all of the key export destinations with Asia, the Middle East and Europe all experiencing flows above last month. Asia posting a 33% lift, the Middle East 55% higher and Europe up a whopping 188% on the July figures. Not to be outdone, mutton exports to the US up 65% and even shipments to the “other countries” category jumped 80% from the month prior.

While mutton exports were the star performer in August total consignments of lamb also recorded an increase from the previous month, with an increase of 5.5% on the July numbers – figure 2. Although the month on month lamb gains were slightly more moderate than that displayed by mutton, consignments of lamb still managing to extend beyond the upper borders of the 70% seasonal range with a total of 20,280 tonnes recorded and sits 21% above the five-year average for August.

Lamb shipments bolstered by gains across the board too with August levels sitting above the respective five-year averages for consignments to the USA, Asia, and the Middle East. Compared to the longer-term average for August the lamb export figures recorded this month for USA sits 40% higher, Asia is 27% above and the Middle East saw an 8% gain.

What does this mean?

Seasonal volume movements during Spring show increased flow as higher local supply and lower domestic prices often encourage an increase in offshore demand. This bodes well for the remainder of the year as the average seasonal pattern peak in trade volumes for lamb often occurs during October and in December for mutton. 

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