Prime Cuts, 11 November 2020

Two months remain to complete one of the most extraordinary complex years with trade data now in for October 2020, with the following trends consolidating.  For the fourth month in a row the top three export destinations are unchanged with Japan our leading beef market importing 221,269 tonnes YTD; followed by the US with 186,578 tonnes, and China importing 168,486 tonnes.  The Japanese beef imports for October continue to be solid but trail against its 2019 YTD comparative by 21,282 tonnes.  China has slowed significantly since May when 24,344 tonnes was imported to October’s 12,640 tonnes imported.  For the past four months imports to China have averaged 11,862 tonnes.  China is year to date down 63,091 tonnes in comparison to 2019 but is up 36,414 tonnes in comparison to the 2018 year.  Japan has maintained the largest shipping month for October of all our export markets with 22,371 tonnes followed by the US with 14,469 tonnes and Korea with 13,829 tonnes.  Total beef shipments for October YTD in 2020 were 874,419 tonnes which is behind the 2019 comparison by 135,074 tonnes and also behind its 2018 exports YTD comparative by 64,949 tonnes.  These numbers continue to be slowing given the global events of the past 34 weeks including ongoing tightening of supply as a consequence of widespread rainfall, China plant suspensions, and COVID.  For the past six months the YOY monthly comparatives for 2020 to October are below the 2018 and 2019 comparatives. 

For lamb, our key importing markets for October were again the US our largest lamb importer with 5,535 tonnes followed by the Middle East with 4,585 tonnes and China with 4,557 tonnes.  Year to date China was our largest lamb market with 53,302 tonnes followed by the US with 49,569 tonnes and the Middle East 44,002 tonnes.  The total lamb exports to October YTD were 216,214 tonnes.  This is still less than the 2019 comparative volume by 17,108 tonnes and less than the 2018 YTD volume by 4,585 tonnes.   

For mutton in October, our largest monthly shipment was again to China with 9,135 tonnes, followed by the US with 1,089 tonnes, and the Middle East with 959 tonnes.   Year to date China has maintained its position as our largest mutton importer with 39,579 tonnes, followed by the Middle East with 18,776 tonnes and the US with 15,603 tonnes.  Total mutton exports to October YTD were 111,455 tonnes which is 30,462 tonnes shy of the 2019 YTD comparative and below the 2018 YTD comparative by 32,077 tonnes.

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