September red meat exports fall amid weaker global markets

New Zealand exported red meat worth $617 million during September, with global markets remaining relatively weak, according to the latest analysis from the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Overall exports for the month were down 18 per cent from last September. Exports to Canada, the UK and Saudia Arabia increased but fell for China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the US and Australia.

MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said the drop was partly a result of the very high value of exports last September, but it also reflected the ongoing difficult economic conditions in many of the major markets.

“China, in particular, continues to be challenging with overall exports in September of $187 million, down 31 per cent compared to last September.

“We also saw a 31 per cent decline in exports to Australia, where there have been high levels of domestic meat production and exports as Australian farmers de-stock in anticipation of expected dry conditions driven by El Niño.”

Ms Karapeeva said there were some positive signs for the UK market, with overall exports up 33 per cent, to $17 million.

“This was partly a result of a recovery of sheepmeat exports from the low levels last September, and the continuing growth in beef exports with the improved access under the FTA.

“Exports to Saudia Arabia grew significantly for the month, by 185 per cent to $16 million, largely driven by growth in sheepmeat exports.

“North America was also generally positive, mainly due to an increase in beef exports. Overall exports to Canada increased by 16 per cent to $26 million.”

The value of exports to Japan was down four per cent to $27 million during September. Taiwan fell 27 per cent to $19 million and Korea by 26 per cent to 12 million.

A three per cent drop in overall exports to the US, to $142 million, was mainly due to a significant reduction in fifth quarter exports, particularly tallow, compared to September 2022.

Third quarter summary

Overall red meat exports for the third quarter were worth $2.1 billion, down 21 per cent from last year.

“There was a decline in exports to China and the other North Asian markets, which was only been partly offset by growth in exports to North America,” says Ms Karapeeva.

China fell 42 per cent to $642 million, Japan by 31 per cent to $88 million, Taiwan by four per cent to $75 million and Korea by 36 per cent to $48 million.

In comparison, exports to the United States rose 15 per cent to $551 million and Canada was up 72 per cent to $98 million.

There was some increase in sheepmeat exports to the US and Canada, but most of the growth for the quarter was in beef as a result of some easing of drought and a corresponding decrease in domestic beef production.

There was a small increase in overall exports to the UK, which were up two per cent to $70 million, largely as the result of an 87 per cent increase in the value of beef exports.

Despite the lift in September, over the full quarter the value of sheepmeat exports to the UK declined compared to 2022.

Annual comparison

Exports for the year to 30 September were $10.2 billion, down 11 per cent on the same period last year.

Overall, exports to most of the major markets decreased, but there was a small increase in the value of exports to the United States, up two per cent to $2.4 billion, and Canada, up seven per cent to $275 million.

In both these markets this was due to an increase in the value of beef exports compared to the previous year.