Figures for the first quarter of 2009 show that demand for Australian beef has slowed in global markets as customers deal with credit issues, consume a backlog of meat in storage or buy cheaper beef from competing countries. To add to the woes, Australian production has been high this year which has meant more supply in a period of dampened demand. Exports sales fell 8.6 percent on last year as consumption in high value markets such as Japan and Korea dropped off. Prices have also dropped, with chilled beef to Japan selling at 30 percent less than the same time last year. "With weak demand for higher-value cuts in other markets, Japanese buyers were able to secure sufficient quantities of product to meet immediate needs at very affordable prices," said a spokesperson for Meat and Livestock Australia. The sector has also been affected by the rising dollar.