Global volatility hitting NZ’s red meat sector

Other countries competing against New Zealand in China is being cited as one of the reasons for the pressure our red meat sector is currently facing.

NZ red meat exports for the month of August were worth $730 million – a 16% drop on the same month in 2022. The main decline was in exports to China, which were down 44% to $213m. In contrast, exports to the US were up 26% to $188m, while exports to Canada were up 136% to $40m.

Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive Sirma Karapeeva says the decline in overall exports partly reflects last year was a record for exports in August.

But she adds that New Zealand is also facing growing competition in China.

“Meat competition has increased significantly in China and there are now 42 countries exporting meat to the country – 30 for beef alone. The volume of Brazilian and other South American beef on the China market is significant and it is driving down the price overall. Likewise, Australian producers are exporting significant volumes of mutton to China at a low price. Conservative consumer spending is also driving down pricing.”

Karapeeva says compared to last August, the volume of overall sheepmeat exports increased by 6% to 25,162 tonnes, but the value decreased by 13% to $236m.

She says the decline in value was mainly due to a decline in the value of exports to China, which were down 25 % to $73m – compared to August 2022.

“Sheepmeat exports to our other two major markets, the US and UK, increased compared to last August. The US is up 22% to $41m and the UK up 20% to $19m.”

The one bit of good news is that while beef exports to the UK are much smaller, NZ continues to benefit from the new beef quota under the UK Free Trade Agreement.