Another year, another record for lamb and mutton exports

Lamb and mutton exports hit a tasty $3.84 billion for 2018-19


Sheep
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Last financial year was another record-breaking affair for both lamb and mutton exports with big increases in sales to the US and China.

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The record-breaking story that is lamb and mutton exports added a new chapter in 2018-19 with the value of shipments hitting $3.84 billion.

Lamb continued its giddy climb with exports reaching a record $2.6 billion for the financial year, according to Meat & Livestock Australia.

Lamb has achieved year-on-year growth for the past three years of 9pc, 17pc, and 16pc respectively.

Chilled lamb now has a $3.70 a kg premium over frozen, 35c up on the 5-year average.

China may have muscled the United States aside as the biggest volume market but America remains the most valuable.

The US spent $794 million buying Australian lamb in 2018-19, up 22pc year-on-year.

China's imports cost $432 million, up 45pc, while the UAE's lamb bill was $187m, up 13pc, and Qatar $164m, up 58pc.

Off the back of big growth in 2017-18 (up 42pc year-on-year), mutton exports increased again, reaching $1.24 billion in 2018-19 (a 21pc year-on-year increase).

The MLA said dry conditions had driven destocking across the country, leading to higher ewe turnoff which had supported overall growth.

Our top mutton markets performed well but Saudi Arabia dropped by 32pc which meant Singapore moved into 4th spot on the list of most valuable markets.

China's mutton imports climbed a whopping 65pc to $436m, followed by the US at $135m, up 35pc, Malaysia at $111m, up 7pc, and Singapore $76m, up 23pc.

One of the key factors driving growth is an Australian dollar which is sitting at a 10-year low which has made Australian product more affordable globally.

The average value for the Australian dollar in 2018-19 was US71.5c, below the US 83.7c average recorded when export values previously peaked in 2014-15.

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