New Zealand red meat exports: Global market volatility continues

New Zealand exported red meat products worth $807 million in July, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

The figures represented a 24 per cent drop on July 2022, which had record exports of $1.1 billion for the month, due to a catch-up in processing after Covid-related disruptions.

MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said the results were in line with previous July exports from 2016-2021, but sheepmeat markets in particular were under significant pressure.

“This big drop is a short-term impact from the very high export volumes last July, which were largely a result of Covid-related disruptions in the first quarter.”

Karapeeva said that resulted in a 33 per cent increase in sheepmeat exports compared with July 2021, and was the largest July export volume since 2008.

“However, while this July’s drop in sheepmeat was largely due to short-term factors; overall, we are also seeing a long-term trend for a reduction in the volume of sheepmeat exports and an increase in beef exports.”

This was due to the decline in the sheep flock and the increase in cattle numbers — for both beef and dairy, she said.

“Productivity gains in the sheep sector has meant that the drop in sheepmeat exports has not been as significant as the increase in beef exports.”

China remained the largest market for the month but recorded the most significant drop in overall exports for both beef and sheepmeat, down 45 per cent to $247m.

Exports to the US were up 25 per cent from last July, to $231m, with beef in particular recovering from very low 2022 levels.

Canada was the third-largest market for the month, with a significant surge in exports, up 98 per cent from last July to $35m.

This was driven mainly by record beef exports.