Australia's lamb export market continues its strong run as total lamb monthly flow volumes move ahead of the five-year pattern for the first time this season.
And the United States has overtaken China as Australia's largest lamb market lifting by close to 29 per cent in March while lamb exports to all other destinations lifted by 22pc.
Over 6800 tonnes of lamb was shipped to the US in March - levels running at 33pc above the seasonal trend.
Lamb flows to all other destinations, excluding the US and China, have also lifted above the five-year average trend for the first time this year with 14,079 tonnes of lamb shipped to other destinations.
This was a 22pc gain on the volumes recorded during February.
However, lamb volumes to China have eased by 10pc over March to 3506 tonnes shipped weight (swt).
But Thomas Elder Markets (TEM) analyst Matt Dalgleish said it could have simply been a case of an exchange as China's hunger for mutton remains reliable, making up 45pc of the market.
"Perhaps there has been a bit of substitution effect in China over March with Australian mutton export flows over March lifting by nearly 6pc," Mr Dalgleish said.
"Demand from China for mutton is sitting nearly 12pc above the five-year average trend for this time in the season with 4421 tonnes of mutton consigned during March.
"But Australian mutton exports to the US have been lacklustre so far in 2022, possibly because US consumers have been favouring Aussie lamb instead."
March 2022 mutton exports from Australia to the US are sitting 57pc under the five-year average for March with just 781 tonnes swt exported.
Mr Dalgleish said the new trade deal with India for Aussie sheep meat will mean an opportunity to add diversification to the industry.
"Although it is years away that we are likely to see concrete benefits flowing through through to Aussie sheep producers, the free trade agreement (FTA) with India will spread market risk and potentially offset lower demand from places like the US," he said.
Robust mutton exports to Malaysia have secured their place as the second top destination for Aussie mutton knocking the US back into third place.
March saw a 16pc lift to Malaysia with 2206 tonnes shipped. They now hold 15.6pc of the total mutton export market share so far in 2022 compared to the US at 7.7pc.
Strong lamb export results from the US and other destinations saw total lamb export flows reach 24,450 tonnes swt in March.
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