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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2009
CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA YEARBOOK 2009 Russia emerged as Australia’s fourth largest beef market in 2008 with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) taking a record 72,035 tonnes, almost all of which went to Russia. South East Asian markets also performed well with surges in demand from Indonesia (up 23% to 33,019 tonnes), the Philippines (up 314% to 14,143 tonnes), Singapore (up 46% to 8,061 tonnes) and Malaysia (up 87% to 6,183 tonnes). These results were assisted through lower competition from other exporting countries, such as Brazil, which assisted Australia’s exports to the region. Japan easily maintained its place as Australia’s largest beef export market in 2008, with exports falling 4% year-onyear, to 364,302 tonnes. Whilst exports for 2008 to Japan remained 10% below the record volume of 405,794 tonnes in 2006, it was still a very strong result given lower grainfed beef supply, the higher A$ during the first half of the year and increased competition from the US later in the year. In Korea, Australia’s third largest market, increased competition from US beef during the second half of 2008 contributed to a 15% decline in Australian exports for the calendar year, to 127,207 tonnes. Australian cattle prices are expected to strengthen during 2009, particularly for young cattle and cows While exports to the US for 2008 fell to their lowest level since 1997, the final three months of the year saw a sharp turnaround as the fall in the A$ gave impetus to a 23% jump in exports during that same period. STRONG BEEF AND CATTLE OUTLOOK FOR 2009 Against the backdrop of the worst financial calamity in over 80 years, the Australian cattle industry, paradoxically, looks set to enjoy stronger returns in 2009. The lower A$, better seasonal conditions, lower costs and resilient export demand form the basis for this prediction, according to Meat & Livestock Australia’s 2009 Cattle and Sheep Industry Projections. From the second quarter, it is expected that the worst of the current trade disruptions will have passed, and with stronger interest from Japan and US markets, and a partial return of Korea and Russia, exporters should finally start to see some of the benefit from the low A$ in beef export sales and prices. Australian cattle prices are expected to strengthen during 2009, particularly for young cattle and cows, with the low A$, increased restocker and feeder demand and tight young cattle supplies expected to offset the impacts of the global financial crisis, falling economic growth and the US return to Korea. Herd rebuilding will constrain growth in beef supplies in 2009, with production forecast to rise by only 2% (with the increase mainly coming from higher carcase weights). Australian live cattle exports are forecast to ease 7% in 2009, to 780,000 head, after the record 868,359 head shipped in 2008, with a tighter supply of cattle out of northern Australia expected to be the main constraint on shipments. While Indonesia will continue to dominate shipments throughout 2009, demand is forecast to ease during the first half of the year, albeit from record levels. Jed Matz Policy Director 32 Cattle Council of Australia 1117_CCA Yearbook 2009.indd 32 5/5/09 8:00:19 PM