Australian wine exports balloon with Asia as focus
Australian wine exports rose by 3.6 per cent in volume and 3.9 per cent in value of wine exports in the 12 months to end of March 2015, according to the latest findings from the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA).
AGWA’s Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the AGWA’s Wine Export Approval Report March 2015 showed that anecdotal evidence of a renewed interest in Australian wines globally was now being reflected in export figures.
“Some of the strongest growth is seen in the premium price segments and we’ll be continuing to champion Australia’s finest wines in our global marketing activities,” Mr Clark said. “While the above A$7.50 price segment accounts for just 5 per cent of total export volume, the value share is considerably higher at 27 per cent,” he said.
“Certainly the depreciating dollar has an effect but we’re also reaping benefits from the commencement of the Japanese free trade agreement, a rebound in the Chinese market from their austerity measures and improved economic conditions in two of our biggest export markets, the US and the UK,” Mr Clark said about the recent growth.
Total Australian wine export volume increased by 3.6 per cent to 711 million litres and total value increased by 3.9 per cent to A$1.85 billion. The average value of exports remained steady at A$2.60 per litre. Over the last 12 months, Australian wine was exported to 123 destinations by 1,385 exporters with the majority (890 exporters) again recording volume growth.
Asia a ‘key driver’ of growth
Asia continued to be a key driver, with more than half of exports in the above A$7.50 per litre segment shipped to Asian markets (up 13 per cent). The average value of exports to Asia was A$18.77 per litre.
The biggest Asian market for exported wines is still China, but Japan also saw strong growth, as did emerging Asian markets such as Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines.
Exports to China continued to recover, up 20 per cent to 44 million litres and valued at A$242 million. Bulk exports increased 77 per cent to 5 million litres while bottled exports experienced record growth, up 15 per cent to 39 million litres.
The lower and higher price segments were the key drivers of the growth with bottled exports below A$5 per litre up 25 per cent to 24 million litres while bottled exports above A$7.50 per litre increased by 12 per cent to 7 million litres meaning China remains the number one destination for premium Australian wines.
Exports to Japan grew by 20 per cent to a record 11 million litres in a strong indication that exporters are indeed enjoying the benefits of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA). Under JAEPA, the first of the bottled wine tariff cuts came into effect on 15 January 2015 and the second cut was implemented on 1 April reducing the tariff to 11.3 per cent, down from 15 per cent. The tariff on bottled will be eliminated entirely within seven years while the tariff on bulk wines was immediately reduced to zero. The zero per cent tariff on bulk wine was reflected in the growth of bulk wine exports in the first three months of the calendar year, up 414 per cent compared to the same period in 2014.
Other Asian markets experiencing growth include Thailand (up 47 per cent to a record 3.6 million litres valued at A$14 million), Malaysia (record volume and value growth up 10 per cent to 3.2 million litres and up 25 per cent to A$38 million respectively), Taiwan (up 33 per cent to 1.7 million litres while value grew 66 per cent to A$15 million) and the Philippines (up 22 per cent to 1.2 million litres and growing in value by 19 per cent to A$5.6 million).
Big jump in Australian sales in Canada
Australian exports to Canada increased by 11 per cent to a record 61 million litres valued at A$186 million. With a relatively small domestic wine industry, Canada relies heavily on imported wines and Australia was a major source of bulk wine with the below A$2.50 per litre segment experiencing the strongest growth, up 25 per cent to 30 million litres.
Bottled Australian exports also increased albeit at a much lower rate, up 1 per cent to 30 million litres however this growth was driven by the higher price points with A$5.00-$7.49 up 5 per cent to 8.5 million litres, A$7.50-$9.99 up 6 per cent to 2.7 million litres and above A$10 up 7 per cent to 1.6 million litres. Consequently the average value of bottled exports to Canada increased by 2 per cent to A$5.26 per litre, the highest it’s been in five years.
UK and Europe
The UK remains Australia’s biggest export market by volume increasing by 2 per cent to 251 million litres and valued at A$371 million litres.
The UK is increasingly used as a trading hub for Australian bulk wine which is bottled in the UK and shipped to European markets including Ireland and Scandinavia, a key contributing factor in volume growth. Premium price segments however also experienced positive gains with the above A$10.00 segment increasing by 46 per cent to 1.2 million litres, halting a six-year decline in this segment. This growth saw the average value of bottled exports to the UK increase by 5 per cent to A$4.13 per litres, the highest since 2008.
Europe accounts for more than half of Australian wine exports and the latest figures show an increase of 3 per cent to 369 million litres valued at A$580 million. This increase was driven mostly by increases in the UK and Germany with exports to Germany up 11 per cent to 37 million litres and valued at A$48 million.
Total Australian wine exports remained steady at 164 million litres with a drop in value of 1 per cent to A$421 million. The decline in exports was seen across most price points with the only segment in growth in the A$7.50-$9.99 segment up 1 per cent to 2.5 million litres.
The AWGA said these figures reflect a general downturn in total US wine imports which are down 4 per cent to 1 billion litres in the 12 months to February 2015.
Bulk wine exports increased by 4 per cent to 54 million litres while bottled wine exports fell by the same rate to 110 million litres.