Meat & Livestock News

New Zealand’s Red Meat Exports Face Value Decline Despite Volume Increase Amid Global Economic Pressures


  • New Zealand’s red meat exports experienced an 11% decline in value to $10.2 billion in the last year, despite an increase in export volume.
  • Economic challenges and inflation in key markets, along with increased competition, particularly from Australia, have impacted prices.
  • Diverse market strategies and a recovery in beef exports to the US highlight the sector’s resilience 

amid fluctuating global demand.

In a year marked by economic turbulence, New Zealand’s red meat sector faced a paradoxical scenario where export volumes rose, yet the overall value plummeted by 11% to $10.2 billion compared to 2022. 

This decline, as analysed by the Meat Industry Association (MIA), underscores the broader challenges confronting the sector, including stiff economic headwinds and inflationary pressures across global markets.

Sirma Karapeeva, MIA’s chief executive, pointed out that while the global appetite for red meat remains robust, the willingness to pay premium prices has waned. “Consumers worldwide continue to value red meat but are spending less on it,” she observed. This trend was further exacerbated by an uptick in supply from competitors, notably Australia, which ramped up its sheepmeat exports significantly.

China, New Zealand’s premier market, witnessed a 16% reduction in exports, totalling $3.6 billion. Despite a 10% increase in sheepmeat volumes to China, the value mirrored the overall downward trend, dropping by 10% to $1.4 billion.

The erosion of New Zealand’s tariff advantage, following China’s tariff reductions on Australian sheepmeat, coupled with a sluggish Chinese economy and competition from Brazil, has intensified the challenges in maintaining export profitability.

The United States and the United Kingdom, other key markets for New Zealand’s sheepmeat, have also seen declines in both volume and value, attributed to high inflation and competitive pressures from Australian exports. However, the beef sector showed signs of resilience, particularly in the US market, where both volume and value saw significant increases, benefiting from eased drought conditions and robust demand.

Karapeeva highlighted the strategic diversity of New Zealand’s red meat export markets as a cushion against the volatility in any single market. This approach, coupled with a notable recovery in beef exports to the US, underscores the sector’s adaptability and strategic foresight in navigating the complex global trade landscape.