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Red meat export dip reflects weaker Chinese demand

Author
The Country,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 May 2024, 1:55pm
Red meat exports were down. Photo / 123rf
Red meat exports were down. Photo / 123rf

Red meat export dip reflects weaker Chinese demand

Author
The Country,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 May 2024, 1:55pm

New Zealand exported $2.58 billion of red meat products in the first quarter of the year, as the sector continues to face weaker pricing and demand in China, the Meat Industry Association says.

Overall red meat exports were down by 5 per cent from the first quarter of 2023, the lowest value for the quarter since 2018, according to an analysis by the association.

Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said the weaker Chinese market was partly offset by good demand from North America, and there were signs of recovery in the United Kingdom and Japan.

However, China remained challenging, with exports down 27 per cent to $796 million.

Most other top markets remained steady or increased.

Exports to the US were up11 per cent to $658m, the UK by 44 per cent to $126m, Japan by 26 per cent to $117m, and the Netherlands remained steady at $114m.

However, exports to Korea dropped 30 per cent to $46m for the quarter, and exports to Germany dropped 18 per cent to $62m.

Sheepmeat export volumes were up 3 per cent to 119,244 tonnes, and beef up 2 per cent to 129,375 tonnes.

However, the value of sheepmeat was down 5 per cent to $1.04 billion.

Beef remained unchanged at $1.08b.

Karapeeva said it was encouraging to see the positive performance of chilled products.

While the volume and value of frozen exports were down or unchanged, chilled exports of both sheepmeat and beef increased.

Chilled sheepmeat exports increased 17 per cent by volume to 13,202 tonnes and 11 per cent by value to $204m on the first quarter of last year.

This included China, with an increase of 40 per cent by volume to 107 tonnes, and 61 per cent by value to $3.4m.

Chilled beef exports increased 26 per cent by volume to 9112 tonnes and 28 per cent by value to $141m.

“Although chilled sheepmeat volumes are still below pre-pandemic levels, it is encouraging to see some recovery, while chilled beef exports have largely recovered,” Karapeeva said.

“The high-value chilled meat offering is largely as a result of innovation and research and development in processing and packaging, which is providing a longer product shelf life.”

New Zealand red meat exports March 2024

Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva.
Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva.

Overall, March exports were in line with the trends of the quarter. The total exports of $949m were down 9 per cent on March 2023, and represented the lowest value for the month since 2018.

There was a 35 per cent drop in exports to China to $277m. The US remained steady at $233m, the UK increased 57 per cent to $50m, Japan by 63 per cent to $47m, and Canada by 56 per cent to $29m.

Sheepmeat

Sheepmeat exports dropped by 3 per cent by volume compared with last March to 43,702 tonnes, with value down 9 per cent to $395m.

Volumes to China were down 25 per cent to 20,008 tonnes and 42 per cent by value to $106m.

Exports to the US increased 36 per cent by volume to 3621 tonnes and 30 per cent by value to $67m.

Exports to the UK also increased against the low levels seen in early 2023, up 57 per cent to 3621 tonnes, and 48 per cent by value to $40m.

Beef

Beef exports dropped 2 per cent by volume compared with last March to 45,690 tonnes, and 4 per cent in value to $386m.

Exports to China fell 16 per cent by volume to 17,169 tonnes, and 24 per cent by value to $124m.

Following several months of steady growth, exports to the US dipped 4 per cent to 15,763 tonnes.

However, the value still increased 2 per cent to $143 million.

Beef volumes to Japan increased 118 per cent to 3281 tonnes, and 105 per cent by value to $29m, compared with low levels last March.

Fifth quarter

Fifth-quarter exports were down 18 per cent to $168m.

The value of almost all categories dropped compared with last March.

Edible offals were the exception, increasing 12 per cent to $38m.

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here.

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