Red meat exports achieve record April but markets prove volatile

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New Zealand red meat exports hit a record in April however ongoing volatility in China indicates head winds in the coming months, says the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

New Zealand exported products worth $999.6 million during the month of April, up 16 per cent on April 2021 with the value of overall exports increasing to most major markets.

Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of MIA, said that while red meat exports continued to achieve good returns, there was some fluctuation in demand, particularly in China and the US.

“The value of overall exports to China was down six per cent year on year. There was also a small drop in the volume of both sheepmeat and beef exported. The reduction in sheepmeat was largely due to China, with beef exports to the US also dipping.

“While still below pre-COVID-19 levels, volumes of overall sheepmeat exports to the EU and UK were up compared to the last two years. Shipping challenges continue to impact UK chilled exports.”

Despite the drop in volumes, with sheepmeat down by six per cent and beef by four per cent, the overall value of exports increased compared to April 2021 with sheepmeat (35,553 tonnes) up eight per cent to $408m and beef (41,350 tonnes) up 25 per cent to $414m.

The value of overall sheepmeat exports to the UK ($52.3m) was the highest that it has been in April for a number of years.

Ms Karapeeva said this would have been higher if chilled exports were at their normal levels.

April continued the trend of strong beef exports into the other north Asian markets, in particular Korea.

New Zealand has exported a record $131 million worth of beef into Korea during the first four months of the year – compared to $132 million worth exported there during the whole of 2021.

It was also another strong month for co-products, with the value of all categories increasing and the overall value up 14 per cent to $178m.

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