Red meat exports reach $11.4 billion but markets volatile

9 February 2023 – New Zealand exported red meat worth $11.4 billion during 2022, but high global prices eased towards the end of the year, according to the latest analysis from the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

December saw a nine per cent drop in the value of exports, to $966 million, compared to the same period in 2021. Sheepmeat exports were down 19 per cent during the month to $338 million, beef exports fell by 15 per cent to $428 million and fifth quarter products by nine per cent to $200 million.

The largest drop was in the Chinese market, with December 2022 exports down by 21 per cent, to $357.6 million. The UK also dropped by 53 per cent to $25.8 million year-on-year.

MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said the red meat sector’s global markets were softening with high inflation eroding consumers’ purchasing power.

“Some consumers in our key markets are trading down to cheaper proteins and dining out less in restaurants.

 “For beef, we are seeing record imports of beef into China from Brazil. The relaxation of China’s COVID-19 policy has also created some uncertainty in the market.”

Overall, exports for 2022 increased by 13 per cent compared to 2021.  China remained the major market, with a total of $4.3 billion, an increase of five per cent on 2021. Exports to the United States were up by seven per cent to $2.3 billion, Japan increased by 20 per cent to $561 million and the United Kingdom by 11 per cent to $464 million.

Sheepmeat export volumes fell by five per cent to 375,716 tonnes for the year but the value increased by six per cent to $4.3 billion. The average free on board (FoB) value of sheepmeat exports in 2022 was $11.56/kg compared to $10.37/kg in 2021.

The volume of beef exports was also down by five per cent, to 482,875 tonnes, but the value increased by 20 per cent to $4.9 billion. The average FoB value of beef exports in 2022 was $10.07/kg, up from $8.02/kg in 2021.

China was the largest market for beef during the year, with the volume up four per cent to 219,340 tonnes and the value up 34 per cent to $2.1 billion.

There was a decrease in exports to the other major beef market, the United States, with the volume dropping 22 per cent to 126,177 tonnes and the value by five per cent to $1.3 billion.

Ms Karapeeva said a significant factor had been the high levels of drought-driven domestic production in the United States last year.

Fifth quarter products exports were worth $2.2 billion, up 13 per cent from 2021. The greatest demand was for casings and tripe, up 29 per cent to $440 million, edible offals, increasing three per cent to $357 million and hides and skins, growing 23 per cent to $305 million.