China and the United States went neck-and-neck for the title of Australia's main sheepmeat export destination in January.
China won the battle importing 5260 tonnes of lamb, up 52 per cent year-on-year, and 4459t of mutton, down 7pc year-on-year.
Uncertainty hangs over the short-term future of sheepmeat shipments to China because of the business and social upheaval caused by the deadly and as-yet uncontained outbreak of coronavirus but other countries are lining up to grab more of our sheepmeat.
Australia shipped a total 42,010t of sheepmeat in January, a 13 pc increase on the same month last year.
Lamb exports hit 23,366t, up 8pc year-on-year, while mutton rose 20pc year-on-year to 18,643t.
Mutton exports to the US jumped 150pc year-on-year in January to 4149t while its lamb imports dropped 9pc year-on-year to 5115t.
A feature of the exports results in January was a lift in shipments to second-tier markets headed by South Korea which increased its lamb imports 53pc year-on-year to 1576t.
Mutton exports to Malaysia jumped 80pc year-on-year to 2131t.
The EU lifted its total sheepmeat imports by 59pc year-on-year to 1188t.
Australian saleyard prices for lamb and mutton continued to rise last week with the benchmark Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator climbing 16c to 828c a kilogram dressed, 198c higher than this time last year.
The Eastern States Restocker Indicator zoomed up 35c for the week to 928c which is a whopping 353c above the rate this time a year ago.
Widespread rain in the past few days over much of NSW as well Victoria and South Australia will almost certainly add more upward pressure on prices this week.
The story China and US go neck and neck for our sheepmeat in January first appeared on Farm Online.