Meat & Livestock News

New Zealand’s Red Meat Sector Grapples with Market Instability

In a climate of global economic unpredictability, New Zealand’s red meat exports have been feeling the pinch. Data from August reveals a 16% slide in revenue year-on-year, totalling $730 million. The most striking decline was in the Chinese market, where exports plummeted by 44%, equating to $213 million.

Yet, the picture isn’t entirely bleak; exports to the United States and Canada have shown resilience, surging by 26% to $188 million and a remarkable 136% to $40 million, respectively.

Deciphering the Underlying Causes

Sirma Karapeeva, the top executive at New Zealand’s Meat Industry Association, offered her perspective on the downturn. She noted that the decline is in part a reflection of last August’s exceptionally strong export performance. She also highlighted the increasingly competitive environment that New Zealand is up against in China.

“The meat market in China has become a hotly contested space, with 42 nations now exporting meat there, including 30 beef exporters,” Karapeeva said. “The influx of affordably priced beef from Brazil and other South American countries is having a significant impact, pushing prices lower. Additionally, budget-friendly Australian mutton is making inroads into the Chinese market, and a trend towards cautious consumer spending is exacerbating the downward pressure on prices.”

The Sheepmeat Sector: A Mixed Performance

While the overall volume of sheepmeat exports saw a modest 6% uptick, amounting to 25,162 tonnes, the monetary value of these exports took a 13% hit, falling to $236 million. The most significant decline in value was in the Chinese market, where exports dropped by 25% to $73 million.

On the flip side, the United States and the United Kingdom markets showed growth, with exports increasing by 22% to $41 million and 20% to $19 million, respectively.

A Glimmer of Optimism: The UK Trade Deal

In a bit of welcome news, although beef exports to the United Kingdom remain comparatively small, New Zealand is enjoying the perks of a new quota under the recently inked UK Free Trade Agreement.