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Friday, 06 March 2020 13:16

Red meat exports surge ahead, despite Covid-19

Written by  Staff Reporters
Chief executive of the Meat Industry Association, Tim Ritchie. Chief executive of the Meat Industry Association, Tim Ritchie.

Despite global market instability due to coronavirus, January’s meat exports increased by 26% compared to January 2019.

New Zealand export red meat and co-products were worth $873.2 million in January 2020, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

The value of beef exports grew 50%, sheepmeat grew 18%, and co-products were up 2%.

While the average value of sheepmeat exports to China declined from $8.87/kg in December 2019 to $7.63/kg in January, it was still significantly higher than in January 2019 ($6.57/kg).

There was also a drop in the average value of beef exports to China over the same period, down from $9.17/kg in December 2019 to $8.67/kg in January 2020, but this was also higher than in January 2019 ($7.28/kg).

MIA says the New Zealand red met sector has demonstrated its agility by rapidly diverting product into other markets as the coronavirus-related slowdown became apparent.

Overall, exports of sheepmeat and beef increased 10% in January by volume, compared to December 2019. Although beef exports to China, Japan and Korea fell, a similar volume was still exported globally.

The volume of beef exports to the US increased by 38% and to Canada by 48% month-on-month. Sheepmeat export volumes to China grew 4% on December and increased 23% globally, including to the UK (+22%), US (+16%) and Saudi Arabia (+250%).  

Tim Ritchie, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association, says the latest figures underlines the resilience of New Zealand’s red meat sector and its global networks .

“Despite disruptions to the supply chain cause by the Coronavirus, the underlying global demand for protein remains strong.

“New Zealand’s red meat sector exports to 120 countries around the world and that international network of customers has enabled the industry to respond quickly and divert product to other markets.

“But New Zealand cannot take this resilience for granted. The red meat sector is a key driver of prosperity for the New Zealand economy and underpins countless regional communities. We need policy settings which recognise this contribution.”

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