The United States is New Zealand's second most valuable market for red meat, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association.

The value of sheepmeat exports to the US was up 12 per cent for the year ending September 2019 or nearly $3 per/kg more than in 2017/18.

The volume of sheepmeat exports to the country fell 5 per cent. The value of beef exports to the US declined by 24 per cent (to $966.2m) for the year ending September 2019, reflecting the growth in demand from China.

"The rise in value of sheepmeat exports to the US is particularly pleasing and reflects the fact the country is a premium market and especially important for New Zealand's high-quality high-value middle cuts such as racks" said Meat Industry Association Chief Executive Tim Ritchie.

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The trend has continued into the month of October with the average value of sheepmeat exports to the US at $18.97 for October, well above China at $9.32/kg, and the UK at $10.54/kg. These variations in value reflected the different markets' preferences for different cuts.

China continued to dominate as New Zealand's number one export market for sheepmeat and beef.

Meat Industry Association Chief Executive Tim Ritchie. Photo / Supplied
Meat Industry Association Chief Executive Tim Ritchie. Photo / Supplied

"This continuing increase in demand from China for our beef and sheepmeat in part reflects their need to secure additional protein to compensate for the significant reduction in pork supply in the face of African Swine Fever" said Ritchie.

Meanwhile, Japan remained New Zealand's most valuable chilled beef market, accounting for 21 per cent of New Zealand's chilled beef exports in the year to September 2019, which at $92.2m represented a 13 per cent increase over the previous year.

Japan is New Zealand's third most valuable beef market overall, following China and the US, with a 19 per cent increase in value compared to the year ending September 2018.

- The analysis was compiled by the MIA from Statistics New Zealand overseas merchandise trade data.