The value of New Zealand red meat exports dropped by 18 per cent in October compared to a year earlier, analysis by the Meat Industry Association shows.
Sheepmeat exports in October 2020 dropped by 25 per cent and beef exports fell by 14 per cent in value compared to October 2019. Co-products declined by 8 per cent.
The value of red meat exports and co-products to the United Kingdom in October dropped by 16 per cent compared to a year earlier, but the value of exports to the United States increased by 15 per cent.
Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association, said the fall was mainly into China (down 36 per cent to $195 million) and reflected the high prices New Zealand red meat was commanding last year.
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"In October 2019, New Zealand was sending record volumes of meat to China due to African Swine Fever decimating the Chinese pig herd. While the value of exports this October was down compared to last year, it was still higher than all other October monthly exports in recent years.
"This latest data illustrates the volatility of our global markets and shows why it's more important than ever to maintain our market diversification strategy.
"Covid-19 continues to severely disrupt our markets and key channels such as the food service sector and we expect this to continue through to 2021. The situation is also compounded by congestion issues at ports and the appreciation of the New Zealand dollar," she said.
The analysis also showed a significant increase in exports to Singapore in October.
That was mainly due to an increase in tallow exports to Singapore where the co-product was used to produce biodiesel.