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Australian wine boom over?

The boom time of Australian wine exports could be over according to government figures published today.

Although over the last year the total value of wine exports hit a record AUS$2.47 billion (US$1.73 billion), this represents a rise of just 2% on the previous year.

Over the last decade, the sector had been used to average yearly increases of around 10%. The year before last, Australian wines experienced an export growth of 15%. Now, the years of double-figure growth could be over.

‘With regard to the UK, this is just part of the chronology of a maturing market. The issue now is what to do to get the next spurt of growth,’ said Paul Henry of the Australian Wine Bureau.

The yearly export volume figures also showed a considerable slowing, with volumes going up by 11.5% in 2003-2004, compared to a rise of 24% in 2002-2003.

Henry also added that although Australian wine exports were concerned with stimulating growth, a strong position in the world market would limit this, especially as producers begin to look away from heavy discounting.

‘The focus is moving away from discounts and prices are going up. Obviously growth and volume are important but when, as in England, Australian wines represent nearly one quarter of the market, growth rate will reflect the market as a whole. In the UK, this represents about 4% growth,’ said Henry.

According to news agency AFP, the latest figures also show that the United States has overtaken the UK as the leading Australian wine importer.

Written by Oliver Styles

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