Australian beef exports to China continue to run red hot, according to the latest report from Australian Meat and Livestock.
Some speculation as to the cause of this demand surge has been attributed to the rapid and widespread emergence of African Swine Fever (ASF) across China, the MLA said.
However, it said the growth trend was well underway before any outbreak and largely reflect growing demand from wealthy households for premium imported meat.
Meanwhile, reports out of the United States claim African swine fever is continuing to ravage China's herd of 700 million pigs even though Beijing is saying the outbreaks are under control.
China eats around half the world's production of pork and has recently being buying large tonnaes of American pork.
The disease has also has spread to other parts of Asia including Vietnam where it accounts for about three-quarters of the total meat diet.
The MLA said in the first three months of 2019 Australian beef exports to China were up 67 per cent year-on-year compared to 11pc across all markets.
Beef exports to China were elevated across most categories but growth was pronounced among lower-value leg cuts and manufacturing product.
Knuckle exports were up 169pc year-on-year, silverside up 92pc, shin shank up 90pc and 65CL up 50pc.
Additional Chinese demand on the market has been well timed for Australian cattle producers who have had to destock over the past year due to drought.
Australia is not alone in the imported China meat market, with beef in particular becoming increasingly crowded-out by product from South America.
While growth has been centred on China, other export markets are still performing strongly.
Beef exports to the US, despite growing domestic supplies, expanded 16pc over the first quarter and will remain supported as the market enters summer grilling season.
Lean manufacturing beef has been particularly sought after, with import prices currently at a 3.5-year high in Aussie dollar and Australian exports of 90-95CL trim up 28pc year-on-year in the first quarter.
Chilled grassfed primal exports to the US also recorded a strong start to the year, up 12pc year-on-year.
With the start of a new safeguard year, beef exports to South Korea recorded a 14pc expansion in the first quarter, with growth centred on forequarter cuts.
Beef exports to Japan were steady, with grainfed supplies becoming tighter more recently, as the elevated numbers on feed at the start of the year likely worked down over the quarter.