Australian red meat exports (beef, lamb, mutton and goat meat) to China continue to go from strength to strength, with total shipments for May surpassing the previous all-time high registered in February.
The combined May volume reached 20,964 tons accounting for 15% of total Australian red meat shipments during the month (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry).
While Australian beef exports to China remained strong during May, at 11,486 tons swt, sheep-meat shipments reached new heights, surging 202% year-on-year, to 9,269 tons swt. The high monthly sheep-meat exports were largely attributed to strong demand for mutton at 5,728 tons swt in May 2013 from only 503 tons swt in May 2012, with a 38% year-on-year rise in lamb exports, at 3,541 tons swt. China was the largest single exports destination for Australian lamb and mutton during May.
In terms of beef cuts sent to China during May, silverside/outside and thick flank/knuckle volumes decreased on the past month due to reportedly high stock levels, at 1,038 tons swt (down 25%) and 1,128 tons swt (down 5%), respectively. However, the coming barbeque season in China reportedly assisted exports of brisket during May, with another 3% rise from the past month, to 2,342 tons swt. Similarly, warmer weather contributed to heighten demand for shin/shank and blade, used in cold dishes. Exports of these two cuts during May lifted to 2,108 tons swt (shin/shank) and 1,134 tons swt (blade), respectively.
There were changes in trends of sheep-meat cuts shipped to China during May. Breast and flap had been the cut in the highest demand from the Chinese market, but carcase exports (3,833 tons swt) surpassed the volume of breast & flap (3,425 tons swt) for the first time during May, the majority of which was mutton carcase (at 3,652 tons swt).
Breast and flap still remained the second popular sheep-meat cut during May, at 3,425 tons swt (up 58% year-on-year), with the cut of both lamb and mutton rising to 1,957 tons swt (up 11% year-on-year) and 1,468 tons swt (up 262%), respectively. (Argentine Beef Packers SA).-