New Zealand beef exports to China soar

New Zealand beef exports to China grew by 49 per cent during August compared to the same period last year with the value almost doubling, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

The 23,599 tonnes exported represented the highest volume of beef exports to China in any month since June 2019. Year on year, the value of beef exports to China increased by 91 per cent to $235m. Overall beef export volumes grew by 13 per cent to 40,909 tonnes, with the value increasing 37 per cent to $419m.

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New Zealand exported red meat worth $885m during August, a 34 per cent increase on last August. The three major markets for the month were China at $388m, the United States at $155m and Japan at $44m.

Sirma Karapeeva, MIA chief executive, says global markets continue to be dynamic and exporters were demonstrating real agility under difficult conditions.

“This is an exceptional performance in the face of our long-standing labour shortages and supply chain challenges.

“Compared to last August, exports to most of our major markets increased. This included an increase in the volume and value of beef exports to the EU, up 62 per cent by volume, to 400 tonnes, and 95 per cent by value, to $9.4m.

“This demand in the EU highlights how much of a missed opportunity the EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement for beef is.

“The FTA beef quota is less than 0.2 per cent of EU beef consumption and production. The FTA constrains our companies’ ability to export to the EU and denies us the chance to grow this important market.”

Beef exports to the US in August were down 41 per cent by volume, to 6,775 tonnes, and 32 per cent by value to $69.6m.

“There have been high levels of domestic beef production in the US this year, resulting from ongoing drought and higher feed and other input costs, which has had an impact on the demand for imported beef,” says Ms Karapeeva.

“China’s demand for beef has also likely diverted some beef exports away from the US.”

Meanwhile, the total volume of sheepmeat exports increased by 29 per cent to 23,975 tonnes, compared to last August, with the value up by 31 per cent to $275m.

There was also a significant increase in both the volume and value of sheepmeat exports to the EU. These increased by 69 per cent, to 3,551 tonnes, compared to last August, with  value up 94 per cent to $64.8m.

Ms Karapeeva said one reason for the large increase was that the volume and value of sheepmeat exports to the EU during August 2021 were the lowest for the month in at least five years.

“Another factor is that the strong global demand and relatively tight global supply has led to an increase in the average value of sheepmeat exports.

“The average value of sheepmeat exports to the EU was at a record level of $18.24/kg in August this year, compared to $15.94/kg a year ago.”

The value of sheepmeat exports to China was largely unchanged from last August.

The US was the only major market to record a drop in volumes.  However, this was compared to exceptionally high US demand in August 2021 when sheepmeat achieved record levels and beef volumes and values hit a five year high.

Sheepmeat exports to the US were down 20 per cent, to 1,746 tonnes this August, but rose by one per cent by value, to $34m.

“The month was still historically very high for sheepmeat volumes to the US, achieving a record value for any August month and the second highest volume for August since 2015,” said Ms Karapeeva.

‘Fifth quarter’ exports also continued to perform well, with $192m in revenue, representing a 30 per cent increase on August last year. This included tallow ($34m), casings and tripe ($34m) and edible offals ($28m).