Aussie lamb exports to USA highest on record

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenCountryman
Australian lamb exports to the US reached a new high in 2021.
Camera IconAustralian lamb exports to the US reached a new high in 2021. Credit: Reinhard Thrainer/Pixabay

The USA has cemented its position as the world’s largest importer of Australian lamb, with Aussie exports to America reaching 70,606 tonnes in 2021 — the highest annual total on record.

The staggering figure marked a 16.4 per cent increase from 2020.

Victoria was the winner by a landslide, exporting 31,170t of lamb to the US in 2021, followed by NSW (16,928t), South Australia (16,741t), WA (5351t) and Queensland (417t), according to new figures from the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.

Thomas Elder Markets analyst Matt Dalgleish said Australian flows to the US saw “solid” results in mid-2021 before finishing the year well with an almost 18 per cent gain during December.

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“Compared to the five-year average annual volumes of 57,141 tonnes, lamb export flows to the USA were 23.5 per cent higher in 2021, highlighting the solid growth seen in this export destination in recent years,” he said.

China held its position as second largest consumer of Australian lamb after a slight adjustment to its market share, which rose from 23.9 per cent in 2020 to 23.7 per cent in 2021.

“Qatar have dropped out of the top five after removing import subsidies for Australian lamb exports and their third place position has been replaced by the United Arab Emirates, which accounted for 5.8 per cent of the market share in 2021, down from 6.7 per cent in 2020,” Mr Dalgleish said.

“Papua New Guinea moved up into fourth spot with an increase in market share from 3.9 per cent in 2020 to 4.9 per cent in 2021.

“Japan edged out Malaysia for fifth spot, taking an extra 36 tonnes to bring their market share to 3.4 per cent last year.”

Total Australian lamb exports reached 264,823 tonnes in 2021, a marginal 953 tonnes above the 2020 total.

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