In August 2022, Australian beef exports reached 92,080 tonnes, up 19% year-on-year (y-o-y) and the highest monthly total since June 2020. Beef exports from Australia rose to its major markets, particularly South Korea (+43% y-o-y) and China (+37% y-o-y), each accounting for 20% of Australian beef exports. The rise in Australian beef exports was largely driven by the suspension of import tariffs by South Korea. In mid-July 2022, the South Korean government announced that tariffs would be suspended for 100,000 tonnes of imported beef from the 20th of July until the end of 2022. The suspension of import tariffs was introduced to combat the rising inflation in the country.
The South Korean inflation rate was at 5.7% in August, and the Won (South Korean currency) has been trending down against the USD. As a major importer of beef, weaker exchange rates and high fuel prices have led to an increase in prices for imported beef. The removal of import tariffs is likely to ease the upward price movement of beef in South Korea.
The US remained Australia’s closest competitor for beef exports to South Korea. Before the 20th of July, Australia faced a 16% tariff on beef exports to South Korea, while the US faced a 10.6% tariff. However, the tariff suspension offers an increased opportunity for Australian beef exporters. The Mintec price for beef in Australia reached AUD 6.9/kg, up 2% month-on-month and 6.8% quarter-on-quarter at the end of August 2022.