Demand from China for NZ red meat weakens

Weak Chinese demand continues to hurt meat exporters, with export values falling to the lowest level in six years.

New Meat Industry Association data shows exports to China were down 27 percent in the first quarter to $796 million.

Overall meat exports were down five percent – the lowest value for the quarter since 2018.

In March alone, sheep meat exports to China were down 25 percent on the same month the year before.

The drop in exports is being put down to consumers tightening their spend due to tough economic times and stronger imports from South America and Australia.

Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said the weaker Chinese market was partly offset by good demand from other markets.

“Most other top markets remained steady or increased. Exports to the US were up by 11 percent to $658 million, the UK by 44 percent to $126m, Japan by 26 percent to $117m, and the Netherlands steady at $114m.

New Zealand is exporting more sheep meat, with 119,244 tonnes sent offshore in the first quarter, a three percent lift on last year, however the value is down five percent.

Karapeeva said chilled products were performing better than frozen.

“It’s encouraging to see the positive performance of chilled products, while the volume and value of frozen exports was down or unchanged, chilled exports of both sheep meat and beef increased.

“Chilled sheep meat exports increased 17 percent by volume to 13,202 tonnes, this included China, with an increase of 40 percent by volume to 107 tonnes, and 61 percent by value to $3.4m.”

Chilled beef exports increased 26 percent by volume to 9,112 tonnes and 28 percent by value to $141m.

“Although chilled sheep meat volumes are still below pre-pandemic levels, it is encouraging to see some recovery, while chilled beef exports have largely recovered,” Karapeeva said.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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