January red meat export data reflects continued challenges in global markets

New Zealand’s red meat sector exported products to the value of $759 million in January 2024, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said the results — down eight per cent on January 2023 —  reflected the ongoing volatility in global markets.

“Clearly, challenges remain for our red meat exporters,” says Ms Karapeeva.

“This was the lowest January result since 2019. The main contributor to the drop was China, with exports down 21 per cent year-on-year to $263 million. However, overall exports to the United States were up 10 per cent to $182 million and to the UK by 34 per cent to $38 million.

“The volume of chilled sheepmeat exports also increased by 48 per cent overall, to 4,311 tonnes. While this reflects a recovery from low levels of chilled exports in the last two January periods, it is positive given the logistics disruptions of recent months.”

Overall, volumes of sheepmeat and beef exports were relatively unchanged compared to last January but the value of sheepmeat exports fell nine per cent to $305 million and beef by six per cent to $320 million.

This reflected the influence of China on overall export values. Exports to China fell both by volume and value, with the free on board (FoB) value of sheepmeat down by $1.45/kg to $5.07/kg and beef by $0.99/kg to $7.28/kg.

Sheepmeat exports to the United States rose 16 per cent to $45 million and beef exports by 12 per cent to $120 million. Beef exports to the UK also continue to grow, from $588,000 last January to over $2 million, off the back of the UK Free Trade Agreement that came into effect in May 2023. Sheepmeat accounted for most of the increase in exports to the UK, recovering from the low levels of January 2023.

Fifth quarter exports remained steady at $133m.