3 September 2020    Significant leap in red meat exports to Australia, United States, the United Kingdom and Korea

Australia, the US, the UK and Korea were the bright lights for New Zealand’s red meat exports in July, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Overall exports to Australia leapt by 58 per cent compared to the same period last year with New Zealand benefiting from a strong domestic market across the Tasman as the country re-builds its beef herd and experiences reduced livestock processing volumes.

Meanwhile, the overall value of exports to the United States rose by 56 per cent alongside a 39 per cent increase to Korea and a 35 per cent jump to the UK.

The increases offset a reduction in the overall value of exports to China and Japan, which dropped by 22 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. China remained the largest market, accounting for 31 per cent of exports during July, with a value of $209.7 million.

Total red meat and co-product exports were worth $672 million in July, up five per cent from July 2019. Sheepmeat exports were up nine per cent to $244 million, and beef exports up three per cent to $310 million. The value of co-products exports remained similar to that of July last year, at $118 million.

Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association, said the trade figures demonstrated the dynamic nature of the global meat market and the value of the New Zealand red meat sector’s diverse market and product portfolio, which enables it to divert lamb, beef, mutton and co-products to different markets, as needed.

“These results are positive in a challenging global market and highlight the continuing strong international demand for New Zealand red meat.

“There is considerable volatility in key markets, however our resilience has enabled us to continue generating significant export revenue for New Zealand. Processing companies also have a major presence in regional communities so this income is vital as the economy recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Since January, New Zealand has exported 3,988 tonnes of beef to Australia, compared to 1,424 tonnes for the same period last year, said Ms Karapeeva.

“Australia normally ranks around 10th or 11th as an overall export destination for New Zealand red meat. However, in July last year there were significantly lower levels of beef exports, which is behind the jump.”

The volume of beef exports to the US was up by 89 per cent compared to July 2019 with the value increasing 100 per cent to $144 million. The value of sheepmeat exports was down 27 per cent on last year, largely reflecting the fact that a significant proportion of New Zealand sheepmeat goes into the US food service sector, which has been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

Ms Karapeeva said a number of factors contributed to the increase in beef exports to the US and drop in exports to China.

In July last year, China’s beef imports were surging, due to the impact of African Swine Fever (ASF) on that country’s pork sector. This diverted New Zealand exports from most other markets, including the US. 

“The recent increase in the value of exports to the US and the decline in the value of exports to China has largely been driven by a re-balancing of beef exports between the two countries, compared to July 2019.

“At that time, beef exports to the US were particularly low in the face of the significant increase in China’s beef imports.

“Over the last 12 months, a number of major exporting countries, including Brazil, have increased their access to China and are now exporting large volumes of beef. New Zealand exporters are also currently receiving better returns on beef exports to the US, where the average value of beef exports was approximately 25 per cent higher than China in July.”