Australia’s beef exports fell 3% to A$836m in the first quarter as increased exports to Japan helped offset a fall in average prices.

Beef exports to Japan rose by 9% to 208,000 tonnes at an average price of A$4,750 a tonne, but the average value of beef exports fell 10% to A$4,106 per tonne due to a sharp fall in export prices to the US, according to Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

The value to Australian beef exports to Japan in the quarter increased 42% to A$314m compared to the year-ago period, reported Reuters.

The value for the first quarter of 2003 was still 25% lower than that in 2001, however, reflecting the decline in beef consumption in Japan following an outbreak of mad cow disease.

The value of Australian beef exports to the US fell 25% in the first quarter to A$276m compared to the year-ago period, while export volumes fell by 13% to 74,900 tonnes. Both the value and volume of Australian beef exports to the US fell due to a decline in demand and associated low Australian beef prices.

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