Australia sees drop in Middle East beef exports

By Georgi Gyton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Higher-value cuts such as tenderloin continued to do well
Higher-value cuts such as tenderloin continued to do well

Related tags: Saudi arabia, United arab emirates, Middle east, Beef, Lamb

Australia saw its beef exports to the Middle East fall 13% last month, compared to January 2014, according to data from the Department of Agriculture, and compiled by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Supplies were down to 3,160 tonnes swt, across all categories (chilled, frozen, grass-fed and grain-fed).

"The largest beef classification was manufacturing, which slipped 8%, to 1,193 tonnes swt, although this was largely offset by an increase in hamburger mince (76CL category to Saudi Arabia and the UAE) exports,"​ said the latest report from the MLA.

Higher-value cuts, such as tenderloin and strip loin, saw volume increases. However, topside, silverside and thick flank/knuckle were all down significantly compared to the same period last year.

MLA said the countries exported to remained largely unchanged, with the largest markets being Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar. However, exports to Saudi Arabia could be upset if speculation about the country once again allowing beef imports from Brazil became a reality. It said a time-frame had not been set for this, but that it "would almost certainly result in a decline in Australia’s beef exports to Saudi Arabia".

A spokesperson for MLA told GlobalMeatNews​ that although beef exports to the Middle East fell 13% in January this year compared to last, they "were still 38% greater than the five-year average".

"The year-on-year decline was from a combination of reasons, including slightly lower overall exports from Australia in general and strong competition from the US for manufacturing beef,"​ added the spokesperson.

Lamb exports saw a 4% rise in January this year, compared to 2014, with 4,835 swt going to the region, the majority of which was mutton. The UAE was its largest lamb market during January, followed by Qatar and Jordan, said MLA.

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