Red meat: Tough global markets lead to 12 pc drop in exports

New Zealand’s red meat exports declined 12 per cent in value in June compared to last year as global markets remained volatile.

Red meat exports reached $935 million in June, sheepmeat dropping in volume and value to most of the country’s major markets and beef exports holding relatively steady.

Compared to last June, the value of overall exports decreased by 21 per cent to China to $302m, 41 per cent to Japan to $41m and 23 per cent to the United Kingdom to $34m.

However, there were significant increases in overall exports to Taiwan, Canada and the United States.

Exports to the US were driven by beef, up 60 per cent by volume to 21,673 tonnes and 43 per cent by value to $200m, the highest monthly value since March 2015.

Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association, said the drop in sheepmeat volumes reflected tough conditions in many markets while the improved US results indicated an easing of the drought in that country, resulting in a reduction in domestic beef production and a tightening supply.

“We are also now seeing the benefits of NZ’s Free Trade Agreement with the UK, which came into force on 31 May,” Karapeeva said.

“Overall, beef exports to the UK were worth $3.3 million in June. Previously, beef exports would have likely been under one of the quotas with a tariff rate of 20 per cent, so we have already seen tariff savings of around $650,000 in the first month of the FTA.”


Total beef exports were up 12 per cent on June 2022 to 52,773 tonnes but the value was down three per cent to $477m.

Beef exports to most of the major North Asian markets were down in June compared to last year – reflecting the pattern of recent months.

China was down 26 per cent to $158m, Japan down 48 per cent to $23m and Korea down 70 per cent to $8m.

This compares to historically very high exports to Japan and Korea in June 2022, although the value of exports is still below most recent June months.

Taiwan saw a 35 per cent increase to $21m and Canada a 247 per cent increase to $18m from a very low level of exports last June.