Chinese demand boosts record Aussie agriculture exports

Winter crops have helped propel Australian agricultural exports to a record high for a second year, with the market growing by 20 per cent to $80 billion.

Rural Bank’s yearly snapshot of the agricultural export market found broadacre crops and cotton were behind the growth.

“We hit an all-time record of just on $80 billion, which was an 18 per cent increase on the year before and a 36 per cent increase on 2021,” Rural Bank’s Andrew Smith told AAP.

Broadacre crop exports were valued at $31 billion for the 2022/23 financial year, which accounts for more than a third of the total export market.

The cotton industry more than doubled the amount it earnt from exports, worth $4.9 billion, up $2.7 billion from the year before.

China remains the largest export destination for agricultural goods despite some trade sanctions that remain in place on Australian commodities.

“China exports certainly increased, just on $3 billion and largely off the back of the wheat market,” Mr Smith said.

“The Russia-Ukraine situation created a lot of instability in the wheat market and a number of Asian countries were really attracted to Australian grain through that period.”

China retained its position as the largest market for Australian cropping exports for a second year running, with the value of crop exports up a whopping 62.5 per cent to $5.4 billion.

China also continues to be the most valuable market for Australian cattle, accounting for 22 per cent of the total export value.

There was also a lift in almond and cotton exports to China.

Overall, China takes about 20 per cent of Australia’s agricultural exports and was the largest growth market in dollar terms for the second year in a row.

Before sanctions were introduced over the past few years, China accounted for about 30 per cent of the Australian export market.

“We have been able to diversify over that period of time where we’ve had some real trade restrictions for a number of our commodities,” Mr Smith said.

Japan and the US retained their places as Australian agriculture’s second and third most valuable markets.

The report also examined the performance of the states and territories, with Victoria again coming out on top for agricultural exports.

Victorian exports increased due to strong growth in crops, horticulture and cattle.

Western Australia’s rapid rise in exports knocked NSW off second place for the first time in five years.


Liv Casben
(Australian Associated Press)


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