Global Markets, News

MLA reveal Australian lamb and mutton is dominating global markets

According to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), lamb and mutton production has reached record highs.

Australia’s lamb and mutton production surge has driven a significant increase in the nations exports. This increase has driven Australia to account for more than 50 per of global sheep meat exports in 2023, for the first time.

The large increase in exports has impacted Australia’s competitors, particularly New Zealand.

New Zealand’s exports have been affected by the increase in Australian supply, leading to a decrease in their market share in China.

MLA report, with China being the largest market for sheepmeat by volume, it experienced an increase of 24 per cent in total imports during 2023, reaching 429,434 tonnes.

Australian sheepmeat to China lifted by 43 per cent, to 197,448 tonnes. This meant that 71 per cent of the increase in China’s imports came from Australia, and Australia’s market share lifted to 46 per cent, the highest figure on record.

MLA report the rise in Australian market share has been accompanied by a shift in export pricing.

Historically, New Zealand lamb held a $1-$1.30 premium over Australian lamb in the Chinese market. However, this premium has largely disappeared since around 2022, with both products now competitively priced, primarily influenced by fluctuations in the exchange rate.

Additionally Australian lamb exports to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) lifted by 51 per cent in 2023, totalling 58,516 tonnes, with chilled exports constituting 68 per cent of that total.

This bounce back in chilled lamb exports after COVID-related supply chain disruptions has enabled Australian exporters to meet the demands in markets preferring chilled lamb, such as many in the MENA region.

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