- Annual Australian beef export volumes registered 887,679 tonnes for the 2021 season, 14.5% lower than the 1,039,411 tonnes exported in 2020.
- Japan secured the top destination for Aussie beef exports at 26.3% of the trade flows, up from 25.9% in 2020.
- South Korea was the big improver in 2021, moving up from fourth place in 2020 (15.5%) to second top destination in 2021, after accounting for 18.6% of the annual Australian beef export trade.
- On an annual basis China imported nearly 25% less Australian beef in 2021, compared to 2020, with the total beef export volumes to China hitting 148,357 tonnes swt in 2021. Despite the decline in flows China retained the third place position for top trade destinations for Australian beef exports.
- Aussie beef exported to the USA in 2021 totalled just 145,024 tonnes, which is the lowest annual figure on record (going back to 1990) and is 38% under the five-year average trade volumes.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) have reported their final monthly statistics for beef exports in 2021 and the figures show that Japan secured the top destination for Aussie beef exports at 26.3% of the trade flows, up from 25.9% in 2020. South Korea was the big improver over 2021, moving up from fourth place in 2020 (15.5%) to second top destination in 2021, after accounting for 18.6% of the annual Australian beef export trade. China managed to retain their third place position despite their share of trade volumes easing from 18.9% in 2020 to 16.7% in 2021. Meanwhile, the USA under performed during last year, slipping from 20.3% of the market share in 2020 to just 16.3% in 2021.
Total beef export volumes in December 2021 increased by 2% over the month to register 77,058 tonnes swt, bringing the annual Australian beef export volumes to 887,679 tonnes for the 2021 season. Australian beef export volumes finished the year 14.5% lower than the 1,039,411 tonnes exported in 2020 and 18.2% under the five-year average flows.
Australia beef exports to Japan finished the 2021 season in a meek fashion, slipping nearly 17% on the month to register 16,819 tonnes swt for December 2021. A total of 233,818 tonnes of Aussie beef was exported to Japan during 2021, 13.2% lower than the 269,302 tonnes seen in 2020 and 18.2% under the five-year average pattern.
After a stellar 2021 season South Korea imposed export safeguard tariffs on Aussie beef in late October which helped curtail volumes as the year drew to a close. The December trade eased by nearly 17% to record 15,181 tonne swt consigned. On an annual basis Australian beef exports to South Korea totalled 165,053 tonnes for 2021, an increase of nearly 3% on the 2020 trade volumes, but only marginally higher than the average annual volume of 164,395 tonnes recorded over the last five years.
Australian beef export flows to China demonstrated a relatively stable pattern of moderate month on month growth over the second half of 2021. Trade flows for December registered a 5% gain to see 13,805 tonnes swt consigned. Compared to 2020, the trade flows for 2021 were relatively similar for the second half of the year, but significantly softer during the first half of the year. On an annual basis China imported nearly 25% less Australian beef in 2021, compared to 2020, with the total beef export volumes to China hitting 148,357 tonnes swt in 2021.
Exceptionally strong Chinese protein demand in 2019 and 2020, due to their pork shortfall from African Swine Fever, likely overstates the decline in demand seen in 2021. A comparison to the 2021 volumes to the five-year average beef export trade volumes from Australia to China highlights that the 2021 season came in just 14% under the five-year average volumes of 172,722 tonnes. Considering the ongoing trade tensions between Australia and China, along with multiple Australian beef export abattoirs still unable to access Chinese markets, the beef export trade volumes have been relatively resilient during the 2021 season.
Australian beef exports to the USA posted a strong finish to 2021, with an 85% increase in volumes from November to December. Unfortunately, the gain was off a low base so volumes remained under the five-year trend for December. There was 15,277 tonnes swt of Aussie beef exported to the USA in December, bringing the annual total to 145,024 tonnes which is the lowest annual figure on record (going back to 1990). Annual beef export volumes from Australia to the USA in 2021 was 31% under the volumes seen in 2020 and 38% lower than the five-year average volumes.