It's the year of the goat for China

30 November 2023
Bound for the Middle Kingdom. Pic: Agrishots
An article by  Matt Dalgleish

The 2023 season has been a strong one for Australian goat exports with monthly volumes running above average for much of the year and higher than the upper boundary of the normal monthly range since March 2023.

October 2023 saw the third highest monthly flows on record with 3,905 tonnes shipped weight (swt) of goat shipped. You would have to go back to March 2017 to see a larger export month, when 3,967 tonnes of goat meat was exported. However, October 2012 still holds the record monthly flow at 4,042 tonnes exported.

So far over 2023 Aussie goat exports are running at about 2,785 tonnes per month on average, which is 75% higher than the pattern set by the five-year average trend and 60% above the levels exported during 2022. An interesting development during 2023 has been the return of demand from China. It has been about a decade since China accounted for so much of the market share of Australian goat exports.

The USA still dominates Aussie goat exports, accounting for nearly 41% of the export flows  during 2023.

But China has seen some explosive growth this year, increasing their market share of Aussie goat exports from 1.5% in 2022 to 20.1% in 2023.

Currently, China sits in second spot for top Australian goat meat export destinations, marginally ahead of South Korea on 19.2%. Meanwhile, Taiwan sits in fourth place accounting for 6.0% of total export flows so far in 2023.

Top four goat export markets

USA – Australian goat exports to the United States has been on a steady upward trend during 2023, reaching a seasonal peak in October 2023 at 1,977 tonnes swt for the month. This is the highest monthly goat flows have been from Australia to the USA since July 2019. Average monthly goat exports from Australia to the USA so far in 2023 sits at 1,133 tonnes which is nearly 11% higher than the five-year average seasonal trend and 12.5% higher than the volumes exported during 2022.

China – As outlined earlier, the growth in demand for Aussie goat meat from China has been extraordinary this year with trade volumes not seen since 2013. Compared to the five-year average trend, current flows are running nearly 3400% higher during 2023. Even compared to the 2013 season, goat export volumes are running nearly 67% higher this year.

South Korea – Despite showing some very strong demand over 2023, South Korea was unable to stop being displaced by China for the second top spot for Australian goat exports. So far during 2023, average monthly flows of Aussie goat meat exports to South Korea have been running nearly 230% higher than the five-year average pattern and 71% stronger than the volumes sent during 2022.

Taiwan – Out of the top four goat trade destinations, Taiwan has been the most subdued with the earlier months of 2023 and the most recent months running below the average trend. So far this year average monthly flows to Taiwan have been about 4% under the five-year average seasonal pattern, but 9% higher than the volumes being sent during 2022.

The rise of Chinese demand for Australian goat meat has displaced a few other significant players, such as Canada and the Caribbean Islands. However, several of these other destinations for Aussie goat exports are also having a strong season in 2023. Goat exports to destinations outside of the top four countries listed above have been running 81% above the five-year average trend this year and haver been 48% higher than the levels seen during 2022.


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