High global prices continue to drive export growth for New Zealand red meat, with the value of exports to almost all major markets increasing during September, however, there are signs of a slowdown in some key markets, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).
New Zealand exported red meat and co-products worth $777 million during September, a 21 per cent increase on last year.
The top three markets were China ($286m), the United States ($149m) and the Netherlands ($29m).
High export values over the last 12 months also saw the value of total red meat and fifth-quarter exports (co-products) reach $11.5 billion in the year ended September, up 20 per cent from the previous year.
Beef exports were worth $4.8 billion for the year (up 25 per cent), sheepmeat exports were worth $4.5 billion (up 15 per cent), and fifth-quarter exports were worth $2.2 billion (up 20 per cent).
MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said export volumes of both sheepmeat and beef increased during September, compared to the same period last year and were the largest volumes exported in September in recent years.
However, there were also challenges in some key markets, with a large drop in the value of the Yen impacting consumer spending in Japan.
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Beef exports to Japan were worth $16m, down 23 per cent compared to last September.
“Beef exports to the US were also down 13 per cent by volume compared to September 2021. Drought in the US has seen an increase in domestic beef production and record levels of beef in cold storage in the US. That is continuing to impact beef exports,” Karapeeva said in a statement.
The large volumes of beef that China had been importing in recent months, particularly from Brazil, also appeared to be having an impact on prices, she said.
“The Free on Board (FoB) value of beef exports to China in September was $9.24 a kilo, down from a record $10.54/kg in July.”
FoB is the quoted price for the goods delivered to a ship for shipment.
“Over the year to date, China has also imported less sheepmeat from all markets than in 2021, which is something we are keeping a close eye on.”
Meat Industry Association analysis
The value of sheepmeat exports increased 18 per cent to $255m compared to last September. The major sheepmeat markets for the month were China ($95m), the United States ($38m) and Germany ($23m).
Sheepmeat volumes rose by 15 per cent to 21,157 tonnes compared to 2021 - reflecting a catch-up in processing in recent months following delays experienced earlier in the year.
Data for the third quarter of the year showed sheepmeat export volumes rose by 25 per cent, to 77,810 tonnes, and 29 per cent by value, to $903m, compared to Q3 2021 - also reflecting the catch-up in processing and exports.
However, overall China has imported nearly 60,000 fewer tonnes of sheepmeat during the year to date. From January to September 2021, it imported a total of 332,569 tonnes of sheepmeat from all markets. During the same period in 2022, it imported 273,229 tonnes.
New Zealand exported 145,671 tonnes of sheepmeat to China between January and September this year, a 22 per cent drop on the same period last year.
However, this also reflects other reductions in Chinese imports of most meat apart from beef, particularly pork and poultry.
The overall volume of beef exports rose by three per cent, compared to last September, to 34,665 tonnes, with the value increasing by 25 per cent to $338m. Beef followed a similar pattern in recent months, with an increase in exports to China (up 37 per cent to $152m).
The volume of beef exports in the third quarter was largely unchanged from Q3 2021 at 117,659 tonnes, but the value increased by 23 per cent to $1.2 billion. This meant that the average FoB value of beef exports was $10.31 for the quarter compared to $8.29 for Q3 last year.
The value of fifth-quarter exports in September was $184m, up 19 per cent from September last year.