NZ red meat exports to China drop 42% in May

Subdued demand from China has been laid bare in the latest red meat export figures – with exports down 42 percent in May compared to the same month last year.

Exports to New Zealand’s key trading partner were worth $232 in May.

The volume of sheep meat sent to China there was down 1 percent to 15,499 tonnes but the value of those exports fell by 49 percent to $84 million.

Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said this appeared to be due to weak demand rather than an increase in supply from other exporters, as Australian sheepmeat exports to China have also been down over the last three months compared to last year.

The amount of beef New Zealand exported to China was down 33 percent to 14,387 tonnes. The value of those exports dropped 45 percent to $98m.

Despite subdued demand from China, Karapeeva red meat demand was up in most markets.

New Zealand exported red meat products worth $1.1 billion in May, 3 percent up on May 2023.

Exports to the United States were worth $358 million, up 28 percent. Exports to Japan rose 96 percent to $72m, and to the UK were up 51 percent to $62m.

“While the China market is still soft, the ability to shift products to other markets such as the US means companies are continuing to extract the best value for product under the current global conditions.

“The industry’s strong focus on meeting critical market access requirements and customer needs remains key to keeping the door open for New Zealand to the world including the US market.”

Increased beef exports to Japan and the UK demonstrate the value of free trade agreements as reduced tariffs improve the competitiveness of our products, she said.