By Simon Bond

If you like a little bit of lobster your out of luck, your chances are better to get 2 tonnes of iron ore for the price of one big lobster. As China shifts from an export and infrastructure-led economy to one more domestically driven, its impact on other economies will drop. In particular, China’s role as the vacuum for the world’s commodities will continue to recede, unless you are in the lobster business. According to reports lobsters are currently selling for between $85 and a $100 dollars a kilo. You can buy 1 tonne of iron ore right now for US$43.00.

Look for the recent nosedive in commodity prices, be it copper and other nonferrous metals, iron ore, coal or other basic materials, to persist. On the other hand, Chinese food imports may gain as rising personal income levels result in diet upgrades. It takes more grain to turn pigs into pork than it takes to satisfy human nutrition needs directly with corn.

China will no longer dazzle the world as it did in past decades by taking over global manufacturing and growing rapidly. But at least slower, domestic-led growth will be more sustainable.

A South Australian lobster exporter is running at almost 100%t export, with local sales becoming impossible. Andrew Lawrie of Sky Seafoods says strong Chinese demand means local sales are not affordable. Robe's Sky Seafoods owner Andrew Lawrie said he was hoping the price would not get too high for Christmas.

"Or people just will not buy lobster for Christmas," he said. 

China is Australia's largest market for Southern Rock Lobsters, with an insatiable appetite for the crustaceans. Southern Rock Lobsters are now selling for about $85 per kilo, but prices have reached as high as $125 per kilo this year. Mr Lawrie said China's bullish market behaviour, coupled with more corporate investment in the lobster industry, made it extremely difficult to sell lobster locally. 

"It makes it really difficult. Your local sales are non-existent," he said. 

Lawrie said this year he had increased the proportion of lobsters he live exported to China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.


You better stock up.