New Zealand exported a record volume of beef to China in a single month in May, according to the latest analysis from the Meat Industry Association.

27 June 2019 More than 21,500 tonnes of beef worth $155.7 million was dispatched to China in May as beef exports to the country continue to grow strongly.

The value of sheepmeat exports to the United States was also strong. In the first five months of 2019, the volume of sheepmeat exports to the US grew by 1%, but the value of these exports increased by 20%.

The average FOB value for sheepmeat exports to the US in May was $20.08/kg compared to an average FOB value to the UK of $9.38/kg.

Meanwhile, there was a 42% drop in the volume of sheepmeat exports to the UK and a 39% decrease in value in May compared to May 2018.

China remains the largest market by value for red meat and co-products with $329.4m exported to the country followed by the US and Japan.

New Zealand exported more than $912 million of red meat and co-products to global markets in the month of May.

Tim Ritchie, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association (MIA), says the growth in beef exports in China continued the rising demand for protein in the country over recent years.

“The outbreak of African Swine Fever has also impacted pork production and led to a surge in demand for other protein such as beef.”

The weaker UK market reflected uncertainty over Brexit and exporters mitigating risk associated with market disruption that would occur with a hard Brexit, especially as 29 March fell in the lead up to the critical Easter sales period, he said.

“Overall, these figures not only represent good news for the New Zealand economy, but also regional New Zealand. The sector is critical to the prosperity and wealth of the country’s economy, the second largest goods exporter and New Zealand’s largest manufacturing industry.

“We directly employees some 25,000 people, mainly in regional New Zealand, supporting the livelihoods of families and rural communities.”