New Zealand still shipping more meat to China

Monday, 6 January 2020

New Zealand meat exports have increased sharply in value during 2019, according to Statistics NZ. Combined, the value of beef and sheep meat exports between Jan and Nov 2019 stood at NZ$6.7 million (£3.5 million), up from NZ$6.3 in the same period of 2018. The story for both meats is essentially the same, more volume to China, diverted from other markets.

While the total volume of beef exports is higher, total sheep meat volumes have declined, reflecting the ongoing tight supply situation. More recently, beef exports have recorded some year-on-year declines however higher shipments early in 2019 more than offset this.

For the UK, the key watch point will be Easter (12 April 2020) and the supply of lamb for this time of peak demand. February exports of sheep meat from New Zealand will be one of the first pieces of data available giving us an idea of the volume of sheep meat that might be on the UK market for Easter, although this data will not become available until late March. While it is completely reasonable to expect a tighter supply situation domestically for the UK, the effect on farmgate prices is also likely to be affected by the number of supply contracts signed across the supply chain, for UK lamb and imported lamb.

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